Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Blender Addon : Automatic Rig Layer Panel

Here's a simple addon I just wrote for Blender. It automatically generates a panel in the Properties shelf for toggling visibility for the layers of a rig. Previously this required a custom python script for each character, but by using this addon you can have a panel simply by adding some extra properties to your rig.

Firstly, download and install it from here:
(copy and paste it into a new text file, save it as "autoRigLayers.py", then install and enable it in Blender via the user prefs)

Now all you have to do is prepare your rig...

  1. Make a property called "autoRigLayers" and set its value to "1"
  2. Make a property called "layer.1" and set its value to the appropriate layer name.
  3. Repeat step 2 for all the rig layers that you want to appear on the panel

Optionally you can set the number of columns in the panel. This is done by adding property called "layer.cols" and setting its value to a whole number.

Hope this is useful to you. Let me know in the comments below if you find any major bugs.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New short movie - Caminandes

At the end of last year I got together with Pablo Vazquez and Francesco Siddi to make a short movie. The idea was to do something simple and quick. Pablo and I came up with a story involving 2 of his characters, Koro and Pichin. who are based on animals from Pablo's home territory of Patagonia. We also wanted to finish the whole thing in about 2 weeks.

I ended up doing the principal animation on all but 2 of the shots (that's about a minute's worth of animation in 2 weeks). Unfortunately the rendering side of things took longer than expected, largely due to some technical hitches we encountered, but in the end we finished it and I'm actually quite happy with it!

We also got the very talented Jan Morgenstern to make us a Carl Stalling / Warner Bros type soundtrack, and as soon we added it the whole thing came alive.

Check it out:

We're hoping to do some more shorts in this style in the future. They sure are fun to work on, and I think we can get a style that you don't often see in other shorts being released these days.

Check out http://www.caminandes.com/ for more info.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Big update - The CookieFlexRig and more

Alright, it's been a while (yikes! almost a year) since I last updated, but that's because I've been very busy.

In 2012 I worked on a game (Eat Sheep), a tv series (Jokie), 3 short films ("Tube", "Diamant", and "Caminandes" all soon to be released) as well as teaching a one week course at the Blender Institute, producing a new training DVD and developing a new character rig for the Blender community. It's those last two projects that I will cover in this post.

Following on from the success of the "Blender Animation Fundamentals" training series, I was asked by CG Cookie to produce another series. For this one I wanted to go into more advanced topics like lip sync, acting and how to set up a multi camera, multi character dialogue shot.

For this, I need a new rig. So I enlisted the help of concept artist David Revoy, rigger Nathan Vegdahl and CG Cookie's own Jonathan Williamson to help with the modelling. Together we worked for months to develop a flexible character rig for people to use when studying animation. You can see some of the results in the pic above. All these characters are the same rig.

The training series "The Blender Animation Toolkit" was released in November and so far has been very well recieved. Nathan also contributed some tutorials for it, so it's well rounded and shows many different approaches and techniques to animating characters in Blender.

In the spirit of open source, we also released the rig to the world as creative commons. You can get it here.