2010 Reel

Here's a sticky post of my reel - look in the previous posts for the full posting: Rigging Reel

Judd Simantov 2010 Reel from Judd Simantov on Vimeo.

Animation Work

Animation Reel - Judd Simantov from Judd Simantov on Vimeo.

Personal XNA game project

Isis Personal Game Project from Judd Simantov on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Jaw Open

I've started to think about how I want the face to work and the first thing I started looking into was the jaw opening. I figured I'd post a little workflow tip that I do when working with the mouth. The problem with the mouth is that we always model it closed. Then if you choose to open it with a joint you never quite get the right looking mouth open. Its usually because all the verts were collapsed in on themselves in the default pose, so when they untangle, they don't have the right thickness and volume....

So here's my workflow. I model my mouth closed as normal and dont worry about it too much. Then I add my jaw joint, bind it and do a basic weighting setup so I can get a nice jaw open (not the final, but enough to see the volumes)... Now I open the jaw, duplicate off that mesh go into mudbox or zbrush and model the volumes to look the way I want. Now, I apply this shape back onto the original as a blend target, making sure the jaw is closed. This way I can see how its affected the original pose and because the blend is live (still connected), I'm able to tweak it a little more and make sure that I'm also getting a good base shape.

Here are some pics to show the results, the shape on the right is the old mouth open before being fixed... you can see the shape is cleaner, has more volume and will create better shapes when added with other mouth shapes:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Some more thoughts...

So I was thinking a bit about the rigging process again... instead of just typing a bunch of stuff, I figured I'd also post a pic... so here you go before I start rambling (its just a quick snap of where the rig is currently at)... Quick shout out to Dan Barker for some of his top notch advice...:

Its interesting, I was thinking a little about how most TD's (Riggers) and Animators that I've spoken to seem to not really work well together or get along. As I'm working on my short, I'm thinking about this and find it really hard to understand how that is the case. If I was just the TD on this character and not the animator, then I'd rig the character and pass it off to somebody else to animate.... if all goes well, then I'd probably get a few requests here and there and then the animator would pretty much go off and bring the character to life. So the point I'm really making is that I would never have to actually animate the rig. Okay, so with this in mind, why would TD's be so attached to how something would work that they will never be using? It seems like the majority of conflict between TD's and Animators is when animators request something and the TD doesnt necessarily feel like it should be added... this can be understandable, I have these issues at work sometimes, as a TD you obviously cant please everybody and there is deadlines and things that need to get done, but I would think that the most functional relationship an animator would have in production would be with the TD and vica-versa ... they should be able to sit down, discuss the pro's and cons and figure out if the solution will save the animator more time than it will take to implement. In a nutshell, I guess what I'm saying is a rig is only as good as the animators say... it can have crazy technical solutions, but if the animators dont like it, you've failed... so listen to the animators and collaborate.

Luckily I really have this kind of relationship with our lead animator Jeremy Yates... even if he's always trying to make me a good person :)


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Update to my short and some look dev

Alright, its 4:20am and this is one of those evenings where things were just working, so I couldnt leave it and go to sleep... I'm really happy with the results I'm getting thus far! Here is a sneak peak at some look dev and posing... I'm also in the process of rigging this guy (hence him being posed), so its a little more techie and not as fun to look at, but I'll post some info on the rigging process as well.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Kobe Caricature WIP

Here's a little something I started last night... I'm not sure that I made the right exaggeration choices, but I'm happy with the overall construction and some of the planes that were established in his face... Its still very loose, but I've had enough of it for now.... I'll definitely finish it up when I get a spurt of inspiration!

On a quick side note, I had been doing so much really graphic stylized stuff lately, that getting back into this more anatomical type of stuff was quite the challenge... the first few sketches were pretty bad...


Design, Rigging & Animation

Thought I'd just post some thoughts on some stuff that came up this weekend. I started rigging the star trek geek from my short... I got to a point where I had the body rigged (in its most basic form) and ready to be animated. Its really important to get to a point where you can start testing the animation before flushing out weighting, facial setup, details controls...etc. I did a basic walk cycle and the first thing I ran into is that his feet were just too big for such short legs and it meant that anytime I lifted his feet and tried rotating around his ankles I'd intersect his legs. So I went back, sized them down, quickly re-rigged the leg setup and replaced reference in my animation (If you dont use some kind of referencing in your pipeline, you really should!). Needless to say, it worked much better. Anyway, the point that I'm making is A. Make sure your pipeline allows for design changes after animation tests B. get stuff down the pipe and tested as quick as possible with the least amount of time invested so you can see problems and make the changes. Its impossible to account for all problems from the get go, so a flexible pipeline is incredibly important.

Here are some basic tools that really help me with that:

  • Quick rig scripts that let me setup basic structures (arms, legs...etc)
  • Save/Load weights tool, so I can detach the skinning, make changes and rebind (even if point order changes).
  • Orientation importer/exporter.. lets me change joint position and will maintain joint orientation (obviously the general orienation is preserved, in terms of what is the aim and up vector, but as the joint moves this stuff has to change). As long as the aim and up is correct, your animation will be preserved pretty well.
  • Animation/Import export tool... lets me copy stuff in and out of different places really quickly.
There is obviously a bunch more I could do with, but this stuff is what I'm using right now.

That's it for now... I got some new art I'm working on that I'll post soon!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Here's another design I threw together this evening... I'd love to see some of these designs come together in 3d. As soon as I get some time, I'm definitely gonna do some little clay sculpts of these guys. For some reason I'm obsessed with sad eyes and bald characters. It seems like sad characters just manage to evoke some kind of emotion. Its kinda like Wall-E when he tilts his eyes downwards... anyway, enough rambling..... hope you dig it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Doodle design

I was about to fall asleep last night and got this image of this really long face character in my head. I almost woke up and started drawing, but I decided to just sleep (it was 4am)...this evening when I got home from work I messed around and came up with this... I like the extremes in the shape, I'd dig to try and sculpt this and see how it translates to a 3d form.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Early CG character

Here is a very early render of one of the characters... I got to a point with the modelling and figured I'd just test how the geometry is going to respond to lighting (there is no textures and no real light setup, just something basic)... its funny how no matter how good your lighting or model might be, if there is no posing and expression on a character its just not appealing. I'll be rigging this guy soon enough so I can get him posed. I'll post some info and tools as I create the rigging/animation pipeline.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Basic Lighting Tests...

I started playing around with some basic layout and lighting for the room in my short... this stuff is all rendered in Mental Ray with no global illumination and only 1 raytraced shadow. Some of them have some DOF in them, but render times are really low! This stuff is going to change a lot in terms of the stylization of shape and layout... its mostly just about doing some lighting tests.

exploration of design

Here are some sketches just exploring the basics of shape, with nothing really flushed out yet...

Some more sketches from my short

Here are a few earlier sketches I did to explore some character development...I have a lot more than this, but I thought I'd just post some. One thing I cant emphasize enough is to never settle on your first drawing... I generally do about 10-20 sketches before finding something I like. It's not necessarily the 20th drawing, but it gives me enough variety to pick the "right" design from.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Character Designs for my short


So here are some character designs from my short film I'm working on. I tried to keep things really graphic...I also posted the sculpt I've been working on, so you can see what its starting to look like in a more 3d form... It obviously changes a little (I sometimes feel like it loses some of the life that it has in the drawing), but it should get closer to the image in CG: