Friday, 28 September 2007

Day267 AndyH's Suzie, Bimboing and animating

Suzie by AndyH
Looking through some of the amazing work in CGSociety's gallery I found a piece of work by Andrew Hickinbottom which I hadn't noticed before 1. Suzie (from Nov 2006) is her name and she demonstrates some serious character modelling class. The base mesh is refined and has an attractive style which blends a cartoonish feel with 3D very well. The control that is built behind the scenes that allows such deft posing and expressions is something I am looking forward to trying. There is a nice discussion on Suzie in the forums as well where he answers all manner of little questions amongst endless praise posts. He explains that she is built completely in 3ds Max with standard biped, no plugins or anything. It would be great to see some of the technical components of her - how she bites her lip, how the clothes work, what the poly edge-loop setup looks like etc, but he is protecting these.

[The two posed image sets of Suzie by Andrew Hickinbottom]

AndyH does point people at the Joan of Arc tutorial (when asked if he would write one) and there is plenty of discussion around the inspiration of Dean Yeagle for Suzie's design (and posing for that matter).

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Bimboing
Lips, lips, lips. So first thing was to try and build a nicer set for Bimbo. Since she has a very simple set of facial features, so the lips really need to work. This time I began with 2 cubes and with a ref image I worked with vertices. If we end up animating them a little, then I will add a simple cylinder of white teeth. In 3D the lips looked a little puffy - so the second image here shows a modified set that look cuter.

[WIP images of Bimbo, now sporting new lips]

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Animating
For the 3D class we were asked to animate Will's character performing a lift, a rope pull or an axe swing. This turned out to be lots of fun actually, and I tried to apply everything I learnt from the Keith Lango tutorial pages in creating a rope pull. Though Will showed us plenty of overlap and timing control of individual components - I seem to have ended up closer to Keith Lango's newer writups where he uses more keyframes to guide the animations. I can see plenty of areas that could use refinement, but as a first pass I am actually quite happy with it. To criticise my own work I think I would say it is a little sloppy - the curves could be more expressive and direct.
After rendering out the frames as individual files it took me a while to discover Fcheck - which comes with Maya to pull them together. Though this worked fine, when I save it out as a .mov file it plays very slowly - oh well. So here is a screen shot of part of the process instead.

[WIP screenshot of the pull test animation using Will's character]


  1. Andrew Hickinbottom, “Suzie , Character Model,” CGSociety CGPortfolio, November 2006, http://andyh.cgsociety.org/gallery/ (accessed September 27, 2007).

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