– Augmentations

When I was thinking about how to attach the augmentations I figured I would model them and combine them to the mesh of my character. But with further thought this would have caused them to squash and stretch with the movement of character. It would have also made weight painting difficult, in terms if painting the verts behind the augmentations. As a solution I used a script called rivet. This allowed me to keep the augmentations as separate objects and also allowed the augments to move with the character using locators with out deformation of the flesh. It works by keeping the objects attached to a vert.

– Select two adjoining edges and apply the rivet script.

– This creates a locator on the vert in-between.

– Select the object you want to connect then the locator – parent

Testing the animations it works nicely. It sticks to the geometry how it was positioned.

In some cases although the objects were connected to the geometry they would rotate a long the opposite axis of the selected edges. This wasn’t a problem as it was just a case of applying another rivet locator horizontally or vertically.

– Material x.

I have discovered material x. It gives some great effects using adjustable presets. I used it mainly for any copper texturing. As good as it looks it comes with some problems.

As I had created 2 scenes, one for the environment and one for the character, I had planed at some point to import them all into the same scene. But as I discovered when exporting as an FBI to import into my environment scene, none of the material x shaders would transfer across, only custom made imported shader. I also tried exporting as an obj but got the same effect.

But when Imported the Maya scene file it did transfer the material x shaders across. Problem solved. Another problem I encountered with the material x was that I couldn’t change the mat opacity to block hole in preparation for some layered renders. There was just no option for it, this was an issue mainly with the podium as there were a lot of copper studs and belt buckles etc. as a solution I combined all the objects that made the podium and then I was able to select the black hole option. It made sense to combine it as there was going to be no movement in the podium.

– Project files

I thought I made sense to create 2 project files, one for the character and one for the environment. While it was useful in the start, when importing new assets saving and re opening the scene, I would find shaders were no longer connected to some objects, because the program was looking for the shaders in the wrong scene file when I would set the project file.

For example having created my character in its own project file and wanting to import it into my environment scene, that has its own project file, closing maya for the day, open an set project to my environment project. All the shaders form my character would not appear as they are in the character project file. It was just a case of re directing it to find the files and it would be fine from then on. Only when I would open it all on a different computer to what I had been using I would have the same problem and would need to re direct it all again. My tutor showed me how to set a reference file up, which would have been a great solution, only it wouldn’t work with my character, for some reason. But I can gather all my shaders and import them in the source images of the environment project file.

– Mudbox

Something I have noticed about Mudbox it is never smooth sailing, but what program is. My character went in beautifully from Maya and painted and sculpted great on level 5.  But the problem was the export. Some of it was my fault. I was trying to export a displacement map with file types jpeg, tiff etc and of course they didn’t work. I over estimated how much I had remembered about Mudbox and of course that was total the wrong format to export. I found my blog post on my dragonfly Mudbox project and read over how I had exported that displacement map. Open EXR, not sure how I forgot that, but I did. So I exported as an EXR 16 bit. When I applied it in Maya there were a few problems.


It ha some terrible spiking in the area around the nose and mouth. I couldn’t understand it, so i took a look looking at the exr map. Exr runs off red gradients, strong reds being a higher displacement. Around the nose where the spiking was happening there was some really harsh reds and that was the problem. I tried re exporting it and this time as an exr 32 bit anthose harsh reds looked a lot less vibrant and had more of an even gradient. When re applied to the shader in Maya there was no more spiking.

Although I sad solved the spiking my character wasn’t looking like she did in Mudbox. The displacement map was very subtle; looking at the map again there wasn’t a lot of colour in on it to produce the displacement. So I went back into Mudbox and tried increasing the levels. I had exported on level 5 and bumped it up to level 6 and re exported. The map had a lot more detail on it, so I went back to Mudbox and bumped it up again to level 7, that was very high in polls and I supposed this helped the exr house more displacement data. Unfortunately every time I tried to level up or export at level 7 it crashed the computer or closed the program. So I went with the level 6 map and just adjusted the displacement setting and mental ray approximation editor to get it as close to how it looked in Mudbox.

Screen shot 2013-05-09 at 11.50.46 Screen shot 2013-05-09 at 11.50.17

– Lagging

Previewing animations on the Maya time line or trying to weight paint, It would sometimes be very slow and unresponsive. I divorced that it was only when the object was in smooth mode so that was as simple as switch back to normal mode.

-Sound track

To get the timing right for my key frame animation I needed the music for some sections. I found that MP3s are not compatible, but it was just a case of converting if to a wav of iff then dragging and dropping on the time line.