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View Full Version : Best way to animate tenticle / elephant trunk



NinoK
03-29-2012, 05:32 PM
Hi guys,

I'm rigging and animating a cartoon character that has a very long elephant like trunk. It needs to be fairly controllable because it will act as the characters main way to interact with things (no arms). I am wondering what the best way to animate something like this? Poses include touching things, holding onto things, and wrapping the trunk around itself (boa constrictor like, but loose).

From searching I have seen mostly IK booster recommended over standard IK, but have no experience with it. Also, I am not sure if a better way exists in the current version of LW 11 as the posts I read were from LW 8.5 days. I am most familiar with the regular IK and will probably end up going that route if nothing better comes up. I am thinking perhaps 2-3 goals along the way plus an end goal but am not sure if that will give me enough snappy motion animation leeway. Anyway, any ideas are appreciated,

Thanks!


EDIT: Oops, I thought I was in the Tips and Tricks section, could a mod move this please? :p

Dodgy
03-29-2012, 08:26 PM
If you don't fancy bones, try Shift_Spline transform, available from my website.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aozfc57R4WA&list=UUV1ks2APY9Mn21UlSJe4IcQ&index=9&feature=plcp

raw-m
03-30-2012, 03:57 AM
Hi Dodgy. What a great plugin (also a big fan of your "Images to Planes", esp for mograph stuff)! Do you have any plans to make OS X/64bit versions of Shift Spline Transform?

erikals
03-30-2012, 04:51 AM
hi, the plugin is hosted at Dodgy's site, but made by Shift Inc.
they discontinued it some time ago.

here's the documentation, no Mac version available...
http://erikalstad.com/Thank_You_Shift/Shift_SplineTransform.htm

 

raw-m
03-30-2012, 05:00 AM
Thanks for the update, erikals. A great shame as I'd happily buy simple to implement plugins/deformers like this for the functionality they provide (but that's for another discussion).

NinoK
03-30-2012, 08:40 AM
Cool. Downloading now. How does this compare to the built in spline control stuff?

NinoK
03-30-2012, 09:13 AM
I was unable to add the plugin, perhaps because I'm running 64bit only. Either way going to keep looking before I install the 32bit version. Time to read up on IKboost as the standard IK will not work, there is not nearly enough control and snapping is rampant :).

Surrealist.
03-30-2012, 09:18 AM
Hi guys,

I'm rigging and animating a cartoon character that has a very long elephant like trunk. It needs to be fairly controllable because it will act as the characters main way to interact with things (no arms). I am wondering what the best way to animate something like this? Poses include touching things, holding onto things, and wrapping the trunk around itself (boa constrictor like, but loose).

From searching I have seen mostly IK booster recommended over standard IK, but have no experience with it. Also, I am not sure if a better way exists in the current version of LW 11 as the posts I read were from LW 8.5 days. I am most familiar with the regular IK and will probably end up going that route if nothing better comes up. I am thinking perhaps 2-3 goals along the way plus an end goal but am not sure if that will give me enough snappy motion animation leeway. Anyway, any ideas are appreciated,

Thanks!


EDIT: Oops, I thought I was in the Tips and Tricks section, could a mod move this please? :p

Keep in mind that you can build a standard IK rig and use it with IKB. And your goal objects can also be bones. If your character is has a more standard rigging for the rest of it the trunk will work very well as an IKB chain rig. IKB will let you control the parts of the rig that are IK and this gives you quite a bit of control considering the various features you have with IKB controllers, dope track menus and so on. It really becomes rigging on the fly and I find it much easier to animate with than the Layout toolset.

NinoK
03-30-2012, 01:17 PM
Yeah I stumbled on that by accident. They play well together. I am looking for documentation on IKBoost with little luck (past the manual). Two videos on youtube barely cover the start.

The problem that i seem to have is, If I IK Boost the trunk only, it moves as a whole (like FK) when i move the head with the standard IK. I need IKBoost to adhere to a goal so that the end of the trunk can stay fixed in world space while I move the rest of the body with standard IK. I'd be golden if I could get that to work.

erikals
03-30-2012, 05:23 PM
also check ikbooster documentation at Lightwiki...
http://lightwiki.net/wiki/IKBoost

shrox
03-30-2012, 05:40 PM
At about 1:23 in this video you'll see a centipede I animated using bones and weight maps. It's not too hard.

http://vimeo.com/24326438

NinoK
03-30-2012, 06:05 PM
Cool that cleared up some stuff. I am still unable to get a Null to act as a goal to the IKB chain. It appears to be working but the chain is not reaching. My steps were to add IKB to the trunk, add a null to the scene, add IKB to it as well, and then have the last bone of my IKB chain target the null via the options menu. A dotted line is drawn, a 'T' appears on the null, but moving it or other parts of the IKB chain never forces the set item from trying to reach the null. Will have to play around more tonight, keep getting pulled in random directions with the deadline approaching :p.

Surrealist.
03-30-2012, 07:43 PM
I have not had much luck with the menu options for IK in IK booster.

As I understand it, you don't really want to have a null being the goal for the IKB chain. (if you could that would solve so many of the issues which keep people away from IKB) AFAIK this can work only if you set up standard IK with Layout tools. But that would defeat the purpose of IKB for the trunk. If you want the trunk to pick things up use parenting to a bone. There is a dynamic parenter that can work if you set it up right. Another option depending on your storyboard, would be to simply use editing to change from the shot where it reaches for the object and cut to another angle with the object parented to the trunk, or simply cut away to a reaction. But this is all dependent on what your storyboard needs are.

Then if you need the trunk to be fixed in location at the tip you can use the Lock feature and then bind the animation. For a trunk on a toon character this might not be so bad.

If you set up your character for IK, I was thinking that this might be a solution so you could then use IKB on the entire character including the trunk. The trunk part you can drag around by a bone you parent to the tip for better control. The rest of the rig will use the IK chains you have set up even if IKB is on.

Dodgy
04-02-2012, 02:08 AM
also check ikbooster documentation at Lightwiki...
http://lightwiki.net/wiki/IKBoost

Coincidently written by myself :)

erikals
04-02-2012, 04:39 AM
should be in the LW manual ;]

:] hey, never saw any IKB anims from you though :] ?

RebelHill
04-02-2012, 05:48 AM
IKBs an option, its great for posing such things... but again, because it ONLY gives FK interpolation its not great for animating such things when you need wrap and roll behaviours.

Tbh, there is no really good way to get such performance out of LW... the best you're gonna find, imo, is plgCurveBone. you can find a tut covering its use and setup, as well as other options for working with multi bone chains and IK in the 3hour sample set of my RHR series.

NinoK
04-02-2012, 12:37 PM
IKBs an option, its great for posing such things... but again, because it ONLY gives FK interpolation its not great for animating such things when you need wrap and roll behaviours.

Tbh, there is no really good way to get such performance out of LW... the best you're gonna find, imo, is plgCurveBone. you can find a tut covering its use and setup, as well as other options for working with multi bone chains and IK in the 3hour sample set of my RHR series.

Yeah, my hesitation with that was when I went to the plg site, the version i was downloading was last updated in 2007 and I wasn't comfortable with the idea of trusting in a production environment, with a end of the weak deadline a 5 year old plugin, just in case i used it and found some limitation later when trying to push it through the render farm. Although, I bet it would work and I could probably bake everything.

To be safe, I think i'm going to do it via IKB and FK as its due end of the week. Its going to be a pain to do locked down things but i might just edit the storyboard to not include extreme motion, which is sad. On another note, I've decided to learn how to rig & animate in maya. While i love LW and will still use it as my primary go to, I don't want to get in a bind where I have no options like this. I think Newtek's next iteration should update the IK solver a bit to handle longer non single axis, multi goal chains better.

Dodgy
04-02-2012, 09:31 PM
should be in the LW manual ;]

:] hey, never saw any IKB anims from you though :] ?

The Transforming Optimus Prime from my web page uses IKB for everything except the leg IK.

bazsa73
04-02-2012, 11:10 PM
this should have been implemented years ago, even blender is capable of doing it

I just sent a feature request, do so everyone who think it's important for his work.
I guess coding this solver is not such a big deal since all the required elements exists already.

Surrealist.
04-03-2012, 12:06 AM
Yeah, my hesitation with that was when I went to the plg site, the version i was downloading was last updated in 2007 and I wasn't comfortable with the idea of trusting in a production environment, with a end of the weak deadline a 5 year old plugin, just in case i used it and found some limitation later when trying to push it through the render farm. Although, I bet it would work and I could probably bake everything.

To be safe, I think i'm going to do it via IKB and FK as its due end of the week. Its going to be a pain to do locked down things but i might just edit the storyboard to not include extreme motion, which is sad. On another note, I've decided to learn how to rig & animate in maya. While i love LW and will still use it as my primary go to, I don't want to get in a bind where I have no options like this. I think Newtek's next iteration should update the IK solver a bit to handle longer non single axis, multi goal chains better.

There used to be an Ikboost website with all kinds of tutorials. For cartoon stuff it really is OK to bake the locked positions, called "Binding". There is a trick to it. If you post here I am sure there are plenty of people who remember how to do it.

Here is a thread with some tips:

http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?t=86493

Here is an example of locking the hands and feet on the fly in an animation:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHbPcG6zD94

As I said you can always have the rig be all one with IK on the feet and leave the upper body as IKB in the same rig. And animate the entire thing with IKB controls. Or you can have the whole rig be IKB and simply lock limbs as needed.

evenflcw
04-03-2012, 12:50 AM
this should have been implemented years ago, even blender is capable of doing it

I just sent a feature request, do so everyone who think it's important for his work.
I guess coding this solver is not such a big deal since all the required elements exists already.

What exactly did you request? A spline deformer, better multigoal IK, (multigoal) spline IK, something related to IK/FK blending?

bazsa73
04-03-2012, 03:51 AM
What exactly did you request? A spline deformer, better multigoal IK, (multigoal) spline IK, something related to IK/FK blending?

Spline IK

NinoK
04-06-2012, 10:00 AM
There used to be an Ikboost website with all kinds of tutorials. For cartoon stuff it really is OK to bake the locked positions, called "Binding". There is a trick to it. If you post here I am sure there are plenty of people who remember how to do it.

Here is a thread with some tips:

http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?t=86493

Here is an example of locking the hands and feet on the fly in an animation:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHbPcG6zD94

As I said you can always have the rig be all one with IK on the feet and leave the upper body as IKB in the same rig. And animate the entire thing with IKB controls. Or you can have the whole rig be IKB and simply lock limbs as needed.


Thanks, reading through those now. By the way, I really appreciate all the help and links. Whatever shortcomings LW has, the community makes up for them. :)

Surrealist.
04-08-2012, 04:05 AM
Coo. Well I hope that helps. Have not been able to find any of Collin's videos on binding but here are some things to have t a look at that might be helpful:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quNK7KnlBTs

IK boost link looks like an interesting tool for rigging.