3 years, 1 month ago 0

FlexFK – tentacle auto rigging system

I am pleased to present the latest version of my tentacle auto rigging system.

Working to solve some problems for a different aspect of this project I came up with some approaches that seemed to be a good addition to the FK rigged part of the tentacle. For example the position and the size of the influence area of the control objects, as well as their falloff should be animatable. The system seemed to be a very effective and powerful method to extend the functionality of a classic FK, allowing fluent movements as well as hard edges to be formed at any part of the boneless tentacle. I have lately seen that Jeff Brodsky presented a similar idea on vimeo, with a very interesting way of achieving such effects.  The system presented here though, uses a different method than what he used.

The functionality is based on the weighting of the driver value on a value curve. Every joint gets an automated, specific, number and position at the X-axis of that curve (during the execution of the script), which is dependent on the distance of the joint to the control. By multiplications and additions that specific position can be altered, changing the falloff/offset of the influence area.

In addition the rigging system has special twisting functions that allow extreme deformations at any pose. If the twisting is used with a radius, a helix shape can be achieved. The height (distance between each revolution) of such a helix can be controlled as well. Very smooth auto weighting is included also. In order to extend the functionality even more, dynamic properties will be added to the auto rigging system, when I find the time to work on the project again.

Since the calculations are not that complex the performance is very good, though a custom solver written with the API would probably be better, cleaner and faster still. Therefore I am look forward to learn more about using the Maya API on my next projects :-)

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