When animating in 3d more tools = more time?

Ya know you hear a lot about the more complex a rig is when given to animators the more time they will spend tweaking out with it... the more time they shots will take... does not mean it will be better animation? I da know... I find the best stuff I'm able to do these days has to do with strong poses throughout and I purposely built simple, light, fast rigs with only the essential controls... If you want to build the same rigs I'm using for HSM follow teh AWESOME Cactus Dan's GREAT video tutorials series here So before HSM I pretty much SUCKED at rigging and all that... I didn't know much so I would press some buttons and hope it would work out... it was awkward and stressful because I just wanted to get it over with and didn't know wtf was going on... So for HSM I took a whole month just to study, practice and make the ONE master rig I use for all the characters... So I got my notebook out...watched his tutorials, practiced the stuff, took notes... watched more...practiced more... took more notes... and after about 10 days I had built a SUITE rig that I've been using all this time and it works great.... NOW I could have added a lot more control too it BUT I'm going for speed so I left it simple and its one of the best things I could have done because it forces me to FOCUS ON THE BASICS... strong poses... tite, fun to look at breakdowns...and STRONG POSES ^ ^ I have a TON of other tricks I've come up with that I will share at a later time in regard to chaR animation in C4d... so less tools for CHaR animation has been a good thing for meh...

Dynamics sims... NOW I had NEVER used them before HSM.... theres some cool shet in the newest version of c4d... dynamic hair, cloth, clusters, jiggle, hard body dynamics... HA the fanciest I got before HSM was using morphs... I still think morphs are really powerful and use them a ton but I have been using dynamic stuff a bit... and..YEH it LOOKS TITE but it also adds a lot of time for each shot... like on this shot that took me 3 hours last night... this giant monster things bursts from out of the ground in this forest... Now in the past I would have animated the monster... used morphs to distort the ground and make it look like its pushing the ground up... I would have keyframed animated some trees falling over and debris being knocked around.... and it proB would have taken like an hour to do the shot... BUT what I did was... keyframe animate the monster that has clusters and jiggle deformers on it AND things attached to its skin using constraints AND a bunch of morphs making its skin move all weird AND expressions driving procedurally animated stuff on the monster... so when it cracks the ground I used the Xplode plugin with splines to create the cracks in the ground... created a low poly proxy mesh of the monsters to drive the dynamics sim cracking the ground... oh yeh the ground is covered with dynamic hair/grass... so then I had to morph the ground that has the grass to match the distension of the dynamically cracking ground AND the ground collides and pushes the trees around and the debris which is all part of the dynamics sim... so yeh do all that...bake it... do opengl render after open gl render to make sure everything is right THEN test still renders to check the lighting and then final it... with all that stuff the shot ending up taking 3 hours.... was it worth it?????? Probably ^ ^ but thank GAWD I don't have TOO MANY new tools like liquids er something then I would take FOREVER!!!

So take care in choosing your tools... if you get too many...wielding them might take up all your time and then your story never gets told.... if in every shot in HSM I used all these tools I would never get finished... and it if was only partly finished it would be a demo reel not a film.

Actually a lot of the time I find myself faking things these tools to... like for dynamic cloth... since I find the cloth engine not flexible/fast enough for what I want to do... I usually start with a subdivided plane... use the cloth engine to drape it over what I want or deform it in a natural way... then I convert it to a normal polygonal object... then I paint a vertex map on it to define where it should deform then I use the standard formula and wind deformers with restriction tags on them using the vertex map to control the deformation... it animates in realtime in the viewport and looks tite!

Also to fake SSS for creature skin and the like... i just used fresnels in the luminance, reflection and transparency channels tweaked a bit... its looks awesome and renders instantly...

But yeh I'll share all this stuff in detail and MORE when I'm done...


  1. That's a great hint on faking SSS!

    This is why I'm deciding to devote myself to learning Carrara: the workflow cuts out many steps that you have to go through in other softwares. It's definitely not high end, but it has this strength, and it's better than many think. I can use this together with DAz Studio and all the animate plugins, which lets you just grab the arm and move it -
    no un-necessary tinkering.

    Plus I can afford these, And the plugins are cheap. C4D is way too expensive for me.

  2. Wow, you're on a roll - another good post.

    Again, I'm just commenting for general encouragement and agreement. In the end your audience isn't going to care about the perfect settings for your super-complex physics particle fluid interaction system.

    Don't let technical details overpower the ideas and characters in your art.

    ~ J

  3. I LOVE playing with materials ^_^
    i'm trying to figure out how to make the wired crazy zombie looking material in the C4D 9 library
    it's tite ^_^
    i still don't even understand alot of the geekry on your blog....
    i will in time lol
    what does bakeing do anyway? (the C4D function not the cooking or stoning)

  4. SSS:


  5. @Tyler, Thanks for the link dude! I appreciate it! ^__^
    could have thought it meant Super Saiyian Squad! XD

  6. havent done 3d in about a month or two, and i saw SSS and thought... I KNOW THAT, but couldn't remember.... but then DUH! Subsurface Scattering... hahaha

  7. Each time I need to make a rig is pain time...
    Show us the way Master M.


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