Oscar was our first fully 3D character that we created from scratch. Delving into the world of character modelling and rigging can be a daunting and overwhelming process, but is something we have aspired to add to our toolset for some time.
Along the way there were a few hiccups and definitely some things that could have been better executed. We feel that with complex workflows such as character development, there are mistakes that can only be prevented through experience and repetition. We will continue to develop characters in our free time and we believe that it is an area that we can become highly polished at.
We are very proud with the way that Oscar turned out, and a great deal of skills were acquired along the way. We felt it was a highly rewarding process and it was without doubt worth exploring this new territory.
A complex and challenging area of character modelling is maintaining a likeness to the reference whilst keeping good topology for good deformations in the rigging process. We studied tons of reference before jumping into this and despite avoiding several mental breakdowns trying to model the ears, we were quite pleased with the results.
A tough decision to make was whether or not to model the clothes permanently on the character, or model the character ‘naked’ and model separate clothes that could be later weighted to the rig or simulated with cloth. We eventually went with the latter option as it means we can re-purpose the character rig by simply changing his clothes and textures.
Completing the face rig was the toughest part of the process for us. From correctly positioning the joint hierarchy, to painting the skin weights, this was all brand new territory for us. We decided to go for a joint-based face rig as we we’re unsure of what expressions the character might have to perform, so we believed the joint based method gave us the best flexibility for posing afterwards.
We were very pleased with the ease in which you can create a fully functioning IK/FK switch for your character rig. It took a bit of figuring out but the results were great. Admittedly, the switches we made were about as simple as they can be, but it really broadened our understanding of extra functionality that can be added to character rigs.
Creating a control rig
Again this was something we have never done before. To make the controls follow along with the rig but also control it, whilst avoiding cyclic errors was a challenging concept to get our heads around.
Christmas cracker animation
We managed to complete the rig and animate our ‘Christmas cracker’ animation just in time to release it before most offices went on their Christmas holidays. We started by blocking out all the key poses and hitting the overall timing, then we went in and refined all of the ‘in-betweens’. We were very pressed for time and the animation isn’t as refined as it could have been, but we are still very pleased to have managed a project like this for the first time.