Bug Fixes on Wing Creator

 Posted by at 8:11 am
Jul 022014

I fixed a couple bugs on wing creator and more importantly, changed the user locators to define the wing. It now doesn’t use user defined locators, it takes the bounding box of key feathers and uses that to judge the shape instead. This way it requires no input for the user other than that of the feathers and clicking the buttons! You can still change the shape/scale of the feathers once they’re generated and before generating the motion system and it will work. Enjoy!

Jun 192014

Finally got it stable and ready for use! Check the “Download Program & Paper” link under the “Thesis” tab for the download and more info. There are still a couple bugs but they’re harder to pin down and as far as I can tell aren’t affecting the stability of the script or the rig. Please email me with questions, comments, compliments, and especially any bugs at hhoward@falconsongstudios.com! (Or falconsong@falconsongstudios.com, both emails work!)

May 272014

EDIT: Please disregard the portion about the locators in this post, this has been changed and is now outdated.

I’ve been working a bit on updating Wing Creator (I know, I’m slow to the point of stupidity because I tend to stop working on this project for six months at a time) and I’m almost ready to release this version entirely. I’d like to try a couple more things to see if I can break the program to make sure I worked out all the bugs in the new features before releasing it and replacing Version 01 entirely.

Here’s the current file: Wing Creator version 2.0.1

A note about this new version: IT HAS DIFFERENT WINGS! You can generate a hawk wing or a falcon wing. The different wing options are under the second tab. You can make different types at any time; so if you want to make the left side hawk and the right side falcon, go for it. You can also scale the feathers after they’ve been generated if you don’t like the look of the default wings- the program will still be able to generate a rig with any changes on the feathers you do. However, with the different shape wings, I had to add another step to this process for generating the rig.

You HAVE to place the red and blue locators before you can generate the rig. These locators tell Wing Creator where the controls are supposed to be placed, because with the wing changing shape (hawk, falcon, user edited, or whatever) this means that I needed a dynamic way of sizing the controls to fit the different wings. These locators do that. The locators are named appropriately and they need to be placed at the TIPS of the feathers- so “R_Tip” goes at the distal tip of the right wing, “R_Middle” goes at the tips of the feathers in between where the primaries and secondaries meet, and “R_Inside” goes at the very inside of the wing (close to the body), at the tip of the last secondary. If you want longer controls, move these locators out further from the feathertips.

Pictures as example:

Here’s an example of what I mean for different shapes. The falcon wing is quite different in shape, and on the left side, I’ve scaled the feathers on the inside up, so it’s not uniform. I place the locators appropriately and the program can place the rig around the wing correctly.

Have fun and please email me know any comments, suggestions and especially bugs you run into at falconsong [at] falconsongstudios.com

Oct 282013

I really should be in bed since I have work in.. 4 hours… but I’ve been working on the hawk all weekend and wanted to post pictures. I finished the rig, updated the model. Now I just need to mirror the model and I can start skinning it. However I wanted to get a quick (and I mean quick) look at how it was coming out and to see if my changes to the mesh were working so I bound the geometry and threw it into a quick pose- folded the wings and the tail, pulled his head down and foot up and voila, pose! This is the DEFAULT bind, no editing of the bind at all so the skin looks funky in places (really, don’t look under the wings- yeeeesh!) I’m extraordinarily pleased with it so far. Can’t wait to really skin it and work on the deformations!!*

Here’s the rig:

I Know the rig looks like a mess of controls, but it isn’t. I took a page out of the Norman Rig’s book and have the whole lot controlled by that little control over on the left that says “CTRL Viz”. It controls the visibility of different sections of controls, so that you can turn on and off controls that you need. This way they’re not cluttering up the screen all at once and you still have access to all the controls you need. So far they work well, but there are a few I need to change around. The wings are also Version 2.0 of Wing Creator that I mentioned and linked to in my last post, with better finalized feather geometry on it. When I give this hawk some animation I’ll put the 2.0 rig through it’s paces and see what bugs I find so I can fix it and publish 2.0. You can also see where I did the extra modeling finessing. The right hand side shows the more detailed foot, the left side shows the old foot. I think I’m looking forward to the deformations on those feet the most, and the head and neck second most. I have some good ideas for them I can’t wait to try.

Anyhow, had to post this and get it out of my system before I went to bed. I’ll post more details tomorrow or tuesday night, and hopefully an actual bound skin with a first pass on it. I also need to scan in the sketches I made last weekend. Natalie and I went to the Houston Zoo and had a sketch fest. I discovered I really like drawing ungulate animals when they’re in odd poses (like sitting/lounging on the ground giraffes) and animals with wrinkles. Sketchdump and more hawk updates soon!

*3 am in the morning dictates that I use excessive amounts of exclamation marks to show how giddy I am (probably from sleep deprivation). Here have some more!!!!!!!!!!

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!)


 Posted by at 6:50 am
Sep 022013

I’m finally making headway! I’m pleased! (Mostly). My daytime job at the stained glass studio had a project come in two weeks ago and we’ve been doing massive overtime to try and get it done (I’m usually there at 7am and leave at 7pm and have been known to work weekends or till 10 pm some nights…) So the past two weeks, the time in which I wanted to finish updates for Version 2 of the wing rig, have been spent in sleeping and working instead of rigging. I managed to get some time this weekend and work on it though!

The program is now more efficient, thank goodness. I had so much code that was just inefficient and spaghetti-like that it was kinda crazy. I’m still not the most elegant programmer, but this is much better now, using classes (thank you Python) for the feather groups and the wing types. Now it’s easier (read: possible) to add different wing types with this class setup. I did kinda wanna cry when I discovered that while MEL script has vectors and can natively do vector math, that doesn’t carry over to Python so I had to brush-up on my old vector math. Not hard, just… saddening. I was so looking forward to playing with MELs vectors and then finding out I couldn’t and had to do it the long way- yeah, I was a momentarily sad bird.

Anyhow, Falcon Wing! :

I worked on getting new wingshapes made, and discovered a couple problem I made with the original wing shape that have made it troublesome to add more shapes:
-The hawk wing, while it -looked- spread midway between it’s range of motion, was actually more extended than midway, making it hard to add other wings, like the falcon I’m doing now, because other birds don’t have that much splay in the feathers. I need to go back and reshape the hawk and make it a more neutral position, like the falcon is.
– Somehow, the scale for the feathers in the hawk wing all had the same values, whereas the falcon wing they… don’t. So when I apply the function for scaling the wings to the falcon, the size of the feathers looks odd.
This is how it should look, with thinner feathers on the outside, pointy edge of the wing (Feathers are still flat, so they’re interpenetrating, ignore that):

This is how it’s currently generating, with the thicker feathers on the outside and the thinner ones toward the center (program auto-rotates the feathers to avoid most interpenetrations, unlike above):

At least the shape on it (rotation and scaling and positioning of the feathers) is correct. Once I had the falcon shaped correctly before taking the values into Excel to generate the functions for the wing shape, the wing rigged up beautifully with the existing rig generation program (Or rather the updated one, since I added a few things), so all I need to tweak and poke at feather generation class and add scaling in the other directions to work properly…

Now if only I can wrangle a little time away from the stained glass studio to be able to work on this and finish!! And work on my poor hawk rig!! I think I’ll go faceplant into bed now.

A side note: If I repeat the phrase “I will not rig a pennant winged nightjar” enough times, I might actually listen to myself and do the other things on my to do list that need to get done. Oh, but I really wanna make a wingshape for them… they’re so freaking cool

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.