|Mixamo.com. Instant rigging!|
It is the way we bring them to life with controls that can be used to give a performance. The rig in a CG model is a bit like the armature that goes into a puppet.
But what if we could automate the process, and speed it up? This would eliminate (at least in theory) hours of labour. One company that is leading the field is Mixamo, creating automated rigs through their Auto-Rigger tool.
How does Mixamo work?
Mixamo provides an online, automatic model rigging service known as the Auto-Rigger, which (according to Wikipedia) "was the industry's first online rigging service". The AutoRigger figures out where the limbs of a 3D model are and inserts a 3D skeleton, or rig, into it. The Auto Rigger will also calculating the skinning weights, which is another time-consuming part of the rigging process.
Do we recommend it?
I haven't personally road-tested it yet, but the Auto Rigger looks like a great way to get your character rigged fast and inexpensively.
Head of Games at Escape Studios Simon Fenton says Mixamo is a great way to get a quick result when you're rigging a character, especially if you're using motion capture. It's not feature film quality, but it will give you a quick (and good) result.
Ultimately, the question with all automated processes is always the same: does it actually work? After all, if it doesn't, you will have to do it all over again by hand anyway.
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.