New project

 Posted by at 8:20 am
Sep 082014

I have a new project I’d like to mention! I’m going to be working on a small program that allows artists to use some of my rigs as essentially 3d “dolls.” Many traditional artists are familiar with the wooden dolls used to mock up poses for reference such as this:
29 - April - 2011 -- Model

Well, what about dolls for other creatures, like a dog, cat, horse or hawk? It’s hard to have a model for everything, and for some creatures (such as a hawk) are impossible or impractical. With rigs, artists can use them certainly, but that requires knowledge of a program such as Maya, which has a high learning curve that many traditional artists either don’t have the time to learn or the interest. There are other good references out there that are similar, such as Pose Maniacs, however, the artist lacks the ability to alter the base pose. My idea is to make a simple program similar to pose maniacs that can be used by artists to take these types of rigs and pose them like a wooden doll in order to use it as a reference. It will also have the ability to change the lighting scenarios so that it can put the character into a negative space setting so that you can only see the outline of the posed character and many other similar useful features.

I will be using Unreal Engine 4 since it can make a standalone game (not a “game” as such in this particular case, but similar function) that will run easily on anyone’s system and can facilitate making the control system for posing the character and the scene. I’ll be able to offer many different rigs, starting with a base human rig (male and female) and the hawk rig (since I already have him and I know a couple artists who would really love to have access to him). Future plans include making personal characters for artists (such as if you have your own character you draw a lot and want a 3d version to pose for reference or just plain fun) and animation loops for reference!

If anyone has any interest in this program, any ideas, or any desired characters or rigs please let me know at! I’ll keep updates posted here. (Really, I WILL try and remember I have a blog and to be more social online, I promise!)

Finished Hawk

 Posted by at 7:04 am
Sep 082014

I always seem to fall behind on posting here. I’m not huge on social media and tend to interact with people more in person than via social media so I always forget there are actually people who read this blog. I’m trying to make that up now and post some of my work, both finished and new!

I finished my hawk rig some time ago and it includes a more polished version of the wings. He’s been shown in my demo reel, but I forgot to post pictures here. Here he is (in all his smirking glory):

I think maybe I’ll get him textured by a fellow artist of mine to really “finish” him. He was only a rigging project and modeling practice, but I’d like to see him -fully- rendered!

Useful Rigging Post

 Posted by at 9:05 pm
Nov 022013

While working on my rigs, I found numerous useful tools and I just wanted to share these excellent tools/posts/books:

Art of Rigging 1,2 and 3 from CG Toolkit – Haven’t read 3 yet and halfway through 2, these books are excellent and a must> Their website seems to be iffy right now, but if you can get them, these are worth every cent.

How to setup Wacom Tablet for use Painting Weights in Maya– It was late so I was tired and being a doofus and couldn’t figure it out, this post was handy!
Create compound curve icons in maya– Helps when you have numerous curves for a control, and want to be able to select all at once.

Comet Scripts – A bunch of scripts by Michael Comet that are very handy. I found the attibute re-ordering script very useful on my hawk project
Unlock Override Color
Script for Mirroring and Copyring skin weights– The default maya mirror weights is… “imperfect” to say the least (as in it blew up random verts on half my hawk). This script does what the dafault mirror doesn’t and more. Works excellently!

Nov 012013

More progress on the hawk! Almost done with the first pass on skinning. I think I need to unbind and shift around a couple joints for better deformations. I’m not quite so happy with the placement on a couple of them. He still can strike a decent pose however! Even more so now that the skinning is not doing weird deformations like on the last quick bind.

Wing Creator Version 2.0

 Posted by at 8:11 am
Oct 102013

Hey all! I “finished” working on Wing Creator Version 2.0. It can be downloaded at this link- click me!

It is still in it’s alpha stage and working out the bugs. I fixed the problems with the old rig and added new features to it, as well as cleaner, easier to maintain code. There are quite a few bugs that I ran into while creating the new video for it, so I’m currently running this rig and generation program through it’s paces to find all the bugs and breaks in it. Once I get it to a solid, less buggy state, I’ll upload it to Creative Crash and the program uploads page. I’ve been doing overtime at my day job and have only had a few hours to work on this per day (and admittedly some of those hours were not so lucid given some insomnia combined with how exhausting stained glass making can be) so please bear with the bugs and my slowness at times. I’m doing my best! (I just wish I had a little more sleep sometimes!)

Hiatus Updates

 Posted by at 5:41 am
Aug 012013

Hey all. I know I’ve suddenly disappeared when I’ve been insisting I’m going to post the new bird rig. Apologies for that. I’ve been spending time with my family. My brother recently lost his battle with skin cancer so I’ve disappeared from work and online stuff lately and am only now catching up. Thanks for your patience. I’ll be updating my thesis project with the fixes and cleaner rig soon as well as adding more glasswork for sale in the shop.

For my brother, we are not having any services, it’s just family. Please consider donating to your local animal rescue in his honor. He loved dogs, so any donations to local shelters would have made him happy.

Thank you and all the best.

Jul 102012

More progress. Added eyelids, eyes, and hindclaws. She still needs the wing bases and I will use my wing creator program to generate her wings. She also needs tailfeathers and butt feathers. The current feathers are just basic stand-in geometry.

Once the modeling is done I’m going to work on rigging this lady and do displacement mapping and bump mapping in zbrush. I wanted to learn how to do maya hair and also feathers and dynamics on the feathers. Her head, neck and chest will be all feathers, which is why it is not very detailed on the model. I’m excited! I can’t wait, I’ve been itching to learn these things for a while now.

Jul 092012

Finished cleaning up all the span lines on the gryph girl. I’m thrilled with her so far. I wanted to see what she looks like with that tail so I threw on some quick mockup feathers. That tail is going to be.. interesting… to rig an animate. Still working on how I’m going to do that. I really want those butt feathers in there because A) Without them, her butt would drag in air, she needs feathers on the tail for lift on those hidquarters and B) It’s cool looking. [Isn’t that the reason for most of the weird designs out there? ‘Cause, “Duuude, it’s cool lookin’!”]

Anyhow, she needs eyelids, toungue and mouth bag (yay for lack of teeth though, haha), hindclaws (easy), and wing bases and base feathers. Getting down to the small final stuff! Should be done with modeling in the next day or two. I would like to take her into Z brush for some displacement mapping for the finer details on her, especially around her beak and mouth and the scales on her front legs. I’m excited!!