Good day everyone!
As frequent visitors may already now, I've been working on new rigs these last couple of months. If you don't know what a rig is, let me explain the whole deal real (not!) quick:
3d characters are typically animated with bones. As the name suggests, these are joints inside the character model. The model is then weighted to these bones, so that each bone moves a certain area of the character's model. This process is called skinning. Therefore when animating, you actually animate the bones, which then move the character.
But animating each bone individually is impractical, would take extremely long and often results in jittery motions. Therefore you build a rig, which is basically a system, build around the bones to help control multiple bones at once, in a way it makes sense. An integral part of a rig are the control objects ... these are what's actually being animated.
Imagine your character has a spine made up of five bones and you want him to turn his chest to the left. That rotation should affect the entire spine, so each bone in the chain would have to rotate a little bit to make it look realistic. Without a rig, that would mean you'd have to go in and animate five bones. If you built a rig, you would probably create at least one control object on top of the spine and one on the bottom. And you would set it up so that when you move either of these control objects, it affects all five bones in a way you'd expect from a spine. So when you want to rotate the character's chest, you'd just have to rotate the control object on the top and let the rig take care of rotating the bones. You see, rigs are very important and can quickly become really complex, but will make animating a lot easier.
The importance of rigs is not new to me ... even my first animation was animated with the help of a rudimentary rig. As the years have passed however, I now know what I need my rigs to be able to do and I've learned enough to make such a rig.
And that's what I've mostly been working on these last couple of months: building a new rig.
After lots of trial and erroring, it's finally finished. I can easily repurpose it and use it for new characters, rather than building it from scratch. It has lots of stuff that'll make animating easier for me - especially the hands and the face. And every animation I make from now on, I can apply to any character that uses this new rig.
To put this rig to the test, I made a quick animation and applied it to two different characters. As expected, I had to do some refining, but overall I'd call it a success =)
I don't want to open commissions just yet, though. Still need to figure out what to do with the male character models.