Monthly Archives: November 2012

Hand Rigging Process Diary

Problem Analysis:

–          A good rig is the rig that will work the way you expect so the most important thing you have to know before you start your rig is what the character’s animation requirements are. If you know them, it will save you a lot of your time and efforts. It’s very important for a rigger to do the rig. If you create a rig with a lot of functionalities but they will never be used by the animator, you are wasting your time (and money). The requirements will be analysed and break them down into smaller tasks so they will be easier to manage. Such as this rigging assessment, I’m required to create a hand rig with the locators to facilitate both bend and side movements of the hand. I’m also required to create a control object that enables the animator to manipulate set-driven keys for the whole hand and its individual fingers. So I have to break it down in to small tasks and find the solution for them by one at a time.

–          In order to find the best solution for each task, you’ll need the accurate reference material otherwise you’ll never find it.


Test of the solution:

–          Once you have all the problems analysed and the accurate reference material, you can create a simple rig first in order to validate it. You’ll have to make sure that all the problems (small break-down tasks) have to be solved before you decide to combine them together because you’ll never want to build a finale rig based on the unsolved problems. It’s easier for you to check and control the solutions at this stage.


Solution Analysis:

–          After all of your solutions had been tested and they all worked right, you have to analyse them again to make sure that you don’t miss any requirements and do a simple test to see if the individual solutions work well when they’re integrated in a same rigging system.

–          Make sure that you have all the attributes and controls that you need for the rig.

–          Remember to check if you have any redundant attribute. Delete all the redundancies if you have any because you’ll not want to waste more time on them on the next stages and the attributes and controls also have to be clean and simple for the animators to be easier to do their jobs.

–          It is strongly recommended that you should request the feedbacks from the animators to make sure that the solutions are all right.


Recreating of the clean solution:

–          As I mentioned above, the attributes and controls need to be clean and simple. Because you’ve already refined them in Solution Analysis stage, now it’s time for you to re-create the rig with the clean and simple solutions.

–          You should simplify the channels (attributes) in the control by locking and hiding the unused ones.

–          Also check if you named all the components correctly because a good naming convention will help you a lot to create a clean, simple, easy-to-understand controls for the rig.


Final recreating:

–          After all the steps above, now you’re able to recreate the rig with the right and clean solutions without worrying too much about if they work well because they’ve already tested and proved that they are all good for the jobs.

–          At this stage you should be more confident on your rig and it is easier for you to discuss it with the animator so you and he/she make sure that all the attributes and controls are functioning as expected before it’s officially ready for animation.



Schleifer, J 2006, Animator friendly rigging, SIGGRAPH.

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The Torch – Using 3D Container in Autodesk Maya 2013


Effect overview:

–          For the visual effect assessment, I will use fluid effect in  Maya to create the torch flame as the images below:




–          The main objective in this project is to create the flame that burnt on the material like cloth and it is wrapped on one tip of a mace. Fire is one of very common things that we can see in everyday life. In order to create something like this, we have to make sure that we have good reference and we will stick with it. This is not something that we can do by just sitting still and imagine. This is something that we have to search for its information and observe it in real life if we want to make it look real.

–          Firstly, we all know that the colour and other characteristics of a flame depend on several factors such as fuel, heat, density. We can also create different flame types by changing the oxygen supply. They vary from yellow sooty diffusion flame to blue flame and of course that their heat levels are different too.

–          Working with projects like this, the colour and its movement are very important because they will define your flame and show us how it is different from the others. Even though the flame is transparent

–          As the references, this type of flame would be made up of the 2 main elements are the bright yellow-orange fire at the hottest points and the black smokes which will come up when the fires come to the cool-down point. This flame is caused as a result of a combustion oil-dipping cloth. That’s why it has the bright yellow-orange colour at the beginning and black smoke at the end.

–          With this type of flame, we also need to examine the movement of the fire because it is affected by some factors such as the fuel of the combustion the scale of the combustion, the wind in the environment, the scale of the flame to the environment and the density of the air.

–          As in the real world, the colour of the fire is also affected by the other light settings in the environment. Hence, we have to notice all the light sources in the scene and render setting to make sure that the look of the flame is exactly what we want when we render it out.


Development Process:

–          Using Autodesk Maya 2013

–          Create a camera, point light and directional light. Set up the scene as we want.

–          Create a 3D container.

–          Select the fire source object and make it an emitter.

–          Rename it as fireDensityEmitter:

  • Density Method: add.
  • Density/voxel/Sec: 20.
  • Heat Method: No Emission.
  • Fuel Method: No Emission.
  • Fluid DropOff: 0.110.

–          Container:

  • Base Resolution: 150.
  • Contents Method:
    • Density, velocity, temperature, Fuel: Dynamic Grid.
  • Turn on auto to resize.
  • Dynamic Simulation:
    • Gravity: 9.8
    • Damp 0.025
  • Density:
    • Density scale: 2.000
    • Buoyancy: 2.000
    • Dissipation: 2.000
  • Velocity:
    • Swirl: 25.000
  • Temperature.
  • Fuel.

–          Shading (this is the most important part for achieving the right look of the flame):


  • Textures:
    • Texture Color
    • Texture Incandescence
  • Texture Time: =time*0.5

–          Select the container and create a new emitter, rename it as fuelHeatEmitter.

–          fuelHeatEmitter:

  • Emitter Type: Volume
  • Rate: 100
  • Heat Method: add
  • Heat/Voxel/Sec: 20
  • Fuel Method: add
  • Fuel/Voxel/Sec: 15
  • Volume Shape: Cylinder.

–          Scale and snap the emitter to the fire source object.

–          Test the renders.

–          Batch render.


Reflection of script development:

–          Visual Effects is one of the most important reasons that make me get into this 3D world. It makes movies much more interesting and believable for the viewers. It is used in the film and entertainment industry to create effects that are impossible to achieve by normal means, such as travel to other star systems. It is involves the integration of live-action footage in order to create the environments which are not real but we, the viewers, would believe that they are real and that’s why I love it.

–          I was taught about a number of different systems in Autodesk Maya such as Particles/nParticles, 2D/3D Fluids, nCloth and nHair for the Dynamics & Visual Effects Subject. For the assessment, I was asked to create a dynamic effect project by using at least one of the following dynamic effects: fluids, nParticles or nHair and I decided create a torch by using 3D fluids in Autodesk Maya 2013.

–          According to Keller (2010, p. 877):

A good practice for working with 3D containers is to start at a low resolution, such as 20 x 20 x 20, and increase the resolution gradually as you develop the effect.

–          This really helped me with this project. I started with a low resolution 3D container and worked with it as if it were a miniature chemistry lab. The render time was very quick so it’s easier for me to see the effect and manipulate it.

–          To create the flame for the torch, I had to use 2 emitters in 1 3D Container.

–          According to Keller (2010, p. 879):

The contents that you can inject into a container by a fluid emitter are density, fuel, and temperature. You can use an emitter to inject any combination of the three. The settings on the fluid container’s shape node determine how these contents behave within the container. You can use more than one emitter within a container and can create reactions by the interaction of anything within the container. For instance, you can use one emitter to add fuel and another to add temperature.

–          The main problems I had with this project were how to get the right colors and shape of the flame. I took me a while to play around with the settings to achieve the right shape and the most trick thing is how to create the tails of black smoke when the flame cools off.

–          The lesson that I learned from this project was that the more common things you see in real life are the more complicated visually effect to do and you need to have good references to make sure that you are going on the right track.



Keller, E, Palamar, T, Honn, A 2010, Mastering Autodesk Maya 2011, Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana.


Kirillov, K, stock Photo – Closeup of flaming torch with fire and black smoke on blue background, 123RF Stock photo,  viewed 25 November 2012, <;


Sanda, E, 2010, Throwing the Torches on The Old Wooden Boat, Making a Bonfire, Celebrating the New Year 2010, Flickr, viewed 25 November 2012, <;

Categories: Visual Effects | Tags: | Leave a comment

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