Paragon Dance Animations

Human IK Setup

Working with Maya's Human IK system helped speed up my workflow when it came to setting up my rig for cleaning. Before, I would manually retarget the animations from the mocap rig one bone at a time (ridiculous, I know). Thanks to Maya's HIK system, I can retarget the animations in much less time than before. The process itself is quite simple. When creating a definition for the mocap data, all you have to do is retarget the hips. Then, you can use a preset to retarget all the other limbs automatically. Once that's done, you just source the mocap rig to the character rig, bake the animations, and presto...you have a mocapped animation on your rig.

Before and After

Working with mocap comes with its fair share of obstacles. People often think that with mocap, there isn't much work to be done. I used to think that too before I started working with it. The thing with mocap data is that sometimes, the data gets really messed up. I'm talking about how for a few frames, your rig will look so distorted and broken, it's like a demon is trying to possess it. 

 

Of course, these things are fixable. With the use of Maya's Anim Layers and deleting a few frames here and there, issues like body twitches, deformities, mesh penetrations, and more can be resolved. The gallery above shows just a few examples of what I have encountered while working with mocap data. 

Studio Library

Working on hand animations seemed like it would be a lot of work, considering the rig I use doesn't have controllers at all. That means I would have to take each finger joint and move it one at a time to get the hand poses I want. If that doesn't sound tedious, I don't know what does. Then, Studio Library came to the rescue. 

 

Studio Library is a great tool for animators where you can save certain poses or animations and use them whenever you need to at the click of a button. With each animation I work on, I am given a video reference of the actor recording in the studio. I then go through the video and create certain hand poses that I can use throughout the numerous animations I clean up for each actor. The coolest part is that you can blend between two poses using the slider in Studio Library. The image gallery above will show what I am talking about. I truly don't know where I would be if I didn't have this plugin for Maya.

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