Thursday, 28 January 2016

Meet the Morpheus Rig

Morpheus by name, and by nature
Morpheus is one of our good friends here at Escape Studios, and one of many free rigs available online for learning animation.

Created by the very talented Josh Burton, Morpheus has been extensively road-tested by students of animation looking to polish their skills and get better at their craft.

Morpheus is an excellent rig but, like all free rigs (and, frankly, like all rigs), it does have a few quirks. Below is a guide for student animators to some of the main problems that we have come across, and how to fix them.

How to get started 
First of all, download Morpheus, and then watch the free walk-through video below, which will introduce to to the main controls. You will see that Morpheus has excellent flexibility, and very advanced facial rigging.

What's up with the Hand IK Orientation?
By default, Morpheus's Hand IK control is parented to his shoulders. This means that if you animate the shoulders you will also animate the hand IK controls, which, mostly, you don’t want.

To fix this problem, under the hand IK control, change the value for Parent in the channel box to world, not shoulders.

Now, the hands should stay in place when you move the shoudker controls

What's up with the pole vectors?
Same issue here. The elbow pole vector controls should be set in the channel box (under parent) to world, not to the hand.

Facial Controls
To turn on Morpheus' facial controls, go to the World control and turn on Facial Rig in the Channel Box. Once you have found the facial controls, we recommend creating a camera, name it faceCam, parent it to the facial controls, and then tear it off so you can return to the faceCam whenever you need it. This will save you time.

Morpheus - vanishing skin textures!
I can't render Morpheus skin textures. Nothing shows up!

This is a common problem, and Morpheus' skin textures can be a bit tricky.

You may have trouble making them appear, or when you render a frame Morpheus, sometimes his skin comes up black or invisible (see image right).

If this happens, it is because the skin textures have become disconnected from the source image. In Maya, black means no data.

To solve this, follow these steps:
  1. Make sure you created a new project and set to it correctly.
  2. Press 6 on your keyboard so you are in texture mode.
  3. Make sure you have copied all of Morpheus’s textures into your source images folder in your Maya project. Now do a test render again.
  4. If the textures still don’t show up, open up the Hypershade and look inside for the faulty materials. These will appear black in the Hypershade, meaning no data. Let your mouse hover over the black materials and find the ones named skin materials (it is usually Morpheus’s skin that causes problems).
  5. Double click on the material so that its attributes appear in the Attribute Editor.
  6. Now, in the Attribute Editor, try to re-connect the material with the source image. Open up the file3 node under the materials tab, then scroll down and re-establish the connection to HeadTextureLight.png, or whatever the file is that the material is searching for.
  7. Keep doing this for all of Morpheus’s textures until they are all working correctly. 
  8. Don’t forget to render in Mental Ray. If Mental Ray isn't installed, read this post.
  9. If you're still having problems, try using a different lighting setup.
Also try watching this helpful (but silent) video below:

Or try this one here:

I still can't make the textures work!
Still can’t make the skin texture work? Escapee Giuseppe Candido says:
"that's because it has been used a subsurface scattering material, this is the kind of material to reproduce the skin effect. To avoid that just assign a standard material and reapply textures, it should work then."

Slow Playback
Sometimes Morpheus experiences very slow playback on screen, making it hard to test your animation. If you turn Morpheus's mesh smooth control to 1, this will slow down the real time playback on screen. Under his God control you'll find the attributes to smooth or unsmooth him.

Weird tongue problems in Maya 2016 and up
Morpheus doesn't work so well in Maya 2016, and his tongue goes weird.  To solve this, follow this link.

To save Morpheus as an ASCII file, so he can be opened up in older versions of Maya (such as Maya 2015), go to  File > Optimize Scene Size Options , go all the way down where it says Remove Unknown Nodes .. check that box and Optimize.

Clothing Morpheus
To see how to clothe Morpheus, watch this video below

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To apply for our new BA/MA starting in September 2016, follow this link

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