Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hamish McKenzie is awesome and why you should care...

"Hamish McKenzie is awesome." - Morphy - in the year of our Lord two thousand and ten

zooShots is a set of scripts I see in the tool box of almost every rigger I know. For those of you who don't know, it is an amazing collection of scripts that a very generous guy by the name of Hamish McKenzie made available years ago and contains scripts that I use every single day I'm in Maya. This morning as I was working through my rss aggregator, I noticed a post by him looking for some help on some residency issues for becoming a U.S. resident.

I don't know Hamish personally but his generosity in sharing his scripts definitely played a part in shaping my own "let's share cg knowlege world view" that helped begat Morphy whom so many of you are coming to my site to find out about. Since you're already here I thought I might send your peepers his way.

So if you use zooToolBox or any other scripts therein in your professional work, let him know. If you don't, I highly recommend you take a look. There's some really awesome tools in there, some of which I've still not scratched the surface on.

And I promise I'll get to the morphing vid as soon as I possibly can.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Morpheus 101 - The Basics....

Morpheus Rig 101 - "The Rig as Is" - you can also download this vid on Vimeo :)

Sorry for the delay on the vid. Been trying to catch up on errands - new glasses which hopfully made me a little less geeky, house cleanin for another batch of guests comin this weekend, mailing my aunt's shoes back to her who left them on accident last weekend, learning to operate a tractor a neighbor let me borrow, and pasture mowin (you know, the typical every day stuff :)

I'd best get all these vids done in the next 30 days as that's what Camtasia allows for a trial and I can't justify the cost of the software right now. However, I will say this - if I get enough donations to cover the cost I'll keep making them if they're helpful.

Next up for vids - "Morpheus Training: Making Morphy Your Own"

Monday, September 27, 2010

Morpheus Release Candidate (first public one at least)...

Download on the Morpheus project page!

New wip docs are here.

Okay, peeps. It's time to get your test on. I'll start working on the "Intro to the rig vid" tomorrow.

Please note - This is NOT the final release version of Morphy. I'll be going through a series of release candidates until the rest of the major kinks are out before a full on "Morpheus Rig" release. As such, please don't point folks to the rig as a "done" rig if they're expecting everything to be done.

Still working on documentation but the rough pass is up here. You'll need to read it to get the shelf installed should you wanna look at that. It is not necessary for the rig to work.

The rig is pretty much feature complete. I'm not sure I can list all the changes since last time but I'll give it a ago:

  • Smoothers and visibility toggles are on "all_anim"
  • Facial Customization - some new options, polish on lots of stuff
  • Facial shapes - polish, added cat eye option on the pupil control
  • Final space switching options
  • Added in prop ik controls
  • You will need to have boTriggers installed. When you have your characters referenced into an animation scene, you'll need to:
    • Install boTriggers
    • type "boTriggers" in the command line. If nothing happens, go back to the previous step.
    • When the window pops up, go to advanced>update all triggers and all the trigger objects in scene and on the UI should work now
  • FK IK switching are right click menu's on the arrows over the hands and feet
  • Space switching where it exists is right click menu's on the respective controls (head, hands, feet, main eye)
  • UI - the ui is in and working. 
    • There is a UI cam that the UI is constrained to in a certain space mode (that will make sense after the vid). This is also so that you can easily have multiple characters in scene and not have UI's on top of eachother.
    • Select the outer UI "square" to toggle between modes
  • If you wanna turn off Squash and stretch for now, go to the anim expression editor and comment out any instances of "MorphySqshStrtch"
I'm looking for bugs and things not working over various versions of Maya. Support is only for Maya 2009 and above. I've personally tested multiple Morpheus' in a referenced scene file and all features are working for me in Windows 7 with Maya 2009, 2010 and 2011 so if you're using one of those and are having issue, take a look at the instructions again. When you send errors PLEASE include the following:
  • Maya version
  • OS
  • Detailed description of what happened
  • Screen grabs
If I don't individually respond to you or your issue. I'm probably 1) too busy fixing it already 2) have already answered the question in the FAQs or post 3) are planning on answering it in an upcoming vid or documenation

Have fun but know many of your questions will probably be answered after I finish the first video tutorial.  For now, I recommend staying away from doing body stretching customization stuff until I get a vid out as you'll need to understand how it is intended to work. You can however go to town on the body morphing

Things I'm still workin on (none of which should affect any animation tests you begin provided you use referencing):

  • Wrist twist issues
  • Gonna add a few more channels of movement on the lips but again, won't mess with your animation. You'll just have a bit more control.
  • Still need to clean up some stray nodes

It's coming!

So close....

Sorry for the lack of updates. I figured I could either work on Morphy or I could ramble on here about updates, so I'll keep it short. Been doing lots of final stuff on the rig and it's ready for open release candidate status. Just trying to get everything together for the release pack. Wrapped up work on my gig last week so been working on Morphy since then as I've had time.

So, here's the plan:

  • Releasing Open Release Candidate later today or tomorrow
  • Start working on how to use the rig vids after that. Planning on an "Intro to the rig", "Making Morphy Yours - face" and a body variety of that one too. Looking at using Jing to do those vids. Anyone have any better suggestions?
I'll be patching in some fixes and cleaning things up through the release candidate testing phase. My buddy Scott Englert is helping out on a wrist issue for me.

Have a good one!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chuggin along...

This is what I was lookin at this weekend. Isn't that exciting?!

Sorry I don't have much to show but Morpheus is getting really close to being finished. Been working hard on hitting all of the feedback issues I've been getting from folks and spent most of my spare time this weekend in the facial rig. Thanks everyone who's provided great feedback, it's just gonna make the rig that much more robust when it's done.


  • Facial Customization
    • Lots of polish on the nose targets, eye sockets  and lips modifiers.
    • Brand new nose tip modifiers. I wasn't really liking how the nose tip modifiers were working so hopefully the new variations will afford more possibilities. 
    • Added nose bridge narrower
    • Weighting - another weighting pass. One commenter was having trouble getting something with the brows being pushed back and so hopefully that's fixed now
  • Facial Blendshapes
    • Update a slew of blendshapes - sneers, lip rolls, narrows, mouth open/lips sealed, actually...pretty much everything has gotten love
      • Lots of more "z movement" on narrow and lip roll shapes.
      • Sneer "rides the skull" better in the ty movement to work better with some of the customization stuff
  • Textures
    • Got another update from Mary (who's workin on a website for me to link to:), but she's been doing a great job on female make up texture work so you can easily toggle things and what not in photoshop. I'm very grateful.
    • Fixed the lip corner uvs
  • Custom geo - Danny tells me he's still workin on the teeth so can't wait to see what he comes up with
  • Body rig - I think we're pretty good to go now, just gotta finish hooking stuff up to the UI
Still shooting to have a release candidate in the next week but no promises. I'd rather have a delayed rig with less bugs:)

What else....Been really enjoyin the animation gig I started a week and a half ago or so. Fun characters with character types I've not really done before. Good stuff.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Another labor day has come and gone...

In America means trading one's workweek labors for that of driving long distances to see family or something "neat." In our case we headed to land of my upbringing - Oklahoma. Yes, the wind was sweeping down the plain. Also, I ate way too much.

As I recently said, Morphy progress has slowed as I started a new animation gig which is gonna be a lot of fun. Still working on getting a feel for the characters but it feels good to stretch the animation muscles again after their break of the past few months workin mainly on rigging. Been getting some great feed back from people and did make a few fixes in the wee hours of the night last week.

Oh, a short note on submitting ideas/bugs. Please be as specific as possible in what you're seeing and/or wanting. For bugs, sending me a referenced anim file with your issue illustrated is very helpful and for suggestions, maybe do a draw-over or "over explain" what you mean. Email isn't exactly a great form of communication but we do the best with what we have:)

Here's a quick update:

  • Added in the pony tail and pig tail rigs that will show up when you choose those hair option now. Thanks to Mary Barreiro for doing those rigs and making it so easy to roll them in.
  • Pushed the muscle body morph 50% more and about done splitting that up again
  • Some polish on lips rolls and some other stuff
  • Did another tweak to ankle/shoulder;/hip positioning which required another re-rig
To Do:

  • Still having some issues with the shoulders and hips twist getting messed up so been workin on some solutions there and think we're getting close
  • Finalize UI functionality
  • Look at some texture submissions
  • Finalize head to rig connection procedures for documentation
Feedback request:
  • TSM  Morpheus version - Several of my friends are big Setup Machine fans and I was thinking about doing a TSM body version of Morpheus if there was any interest. It would only be an additional option for using Morpheus if folks like that rig and would illustrate the idea of using the head on different rigs as well. I already have the setup file done so it wouldn't be much hassle. If you're interested. Lemme know.
    • If you're not familiar with The Setup Machine body rig, you can download Squirrely and see what you think. (note - Morpheus will not have a tail)
  • Hands - I've had some mixed reviews on the hand rig setup. The setup is pretty much following Schleifer's AFR setup and I tend to really like it but I've gotten a couple of responses from folks who thought it wasn't clear. I'd like to hear if anyone else feels it's lacking or your thoughts. Please remember that each finger has it's own attributes as well:)
  • Facial - If you start doing facial animation tests or lip sync tests, please let me know if you're having trouble hitting poses you want. Been getting mixed feedback on this one as well and I've not had (and won't have) time to test it myself for a while.
My hope is the next release will be in the next week or two and will be Morpheus Release Candidate v 0.9

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