Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Introducing Heavy from Team Fortress

One of the rigs we recommend for learning animation here at Escape Studios is the Heavy Rig, based on the Team Fortress character, and free for download at Heavy is particularly good for learning the early stages of animation - locomotion and mechanics.

Heavy is a relatively low poly and hence will almost certainly give you real-time playback in your view port. So, no hanging around waiting to playblast. The controls are simple and easy to use, the textures all work, and all the curves are in logical places. It's also a very stable rig and tends not to cause Maya to crash.

But, of course, all rigs have their quirks and foibles.  So, how can our students get the best out of Heavy?

Who created Heavy and where can I find him?
Look for HEAVY_RIG_EYe_r_J
Sachin Pokhriyal created Heavy, and he can be downloaded free at Creative Crash.

What is the license type?
Heavy is freeware. However, the rights to the original character from Team Fortress are owned by the Valve Corporation, who created the original game, so in practice this rig can only be used for learning animation - not for commercial use. 

Where are the facial controls?
Heavy's facial controls are fairly limited. Heavy isn't really suitable for close-up acting or performance work, though he will do basic expressions. So, stick to action shots, walk cycles - that sort of thing.

What's up with Heavy's eyes? They are invisible if I render with Mental Ray.
Heavy's eyes won't show up if you render him in Mental Ray. To fix this,  you need to shift his Eye group "HEAVY_RIG_EYe_r_J" to be within his existing group "HEAVY_RIG_Head_Ctrl".

This would put the HEAVY_RIG_EYe_r_J group at the same level and group as his other eye group "HEAVY_RIG_Eye_CTrl".

The Heavy rig keeps breaking whenever I keyframe it
If your rig breaks when you animate (where the control curves become detached from the mesh), go into your Preferences window and select Animation from the left hand column, just below Settings.  Under the Evaluation Mode, select Parallel instead of DG

What can you do with Heavy?
Below is an inventive walk cycle by animator Lee Caller.


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

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