Friday, 17 February 2017

Meet the Simple Bot!

Simple Bot. Cute and Funny.
One of the many rigs that we recommend for student use in the early stages of learning animation is the SimpleBot Rig.

SimpleBot was created back in 2009 by Alex Puente and can be downloaded at highend3d.com. He is a two-legged robot character, perfect for learning animation. Below is some very nice Simple Bot animation done by one of our first year undergraduates, Fabrizio Bergamo.

Like most rigs, SimpleBot has his quirks and foibles. So how can our students get the very best out of SimpleBot?



Where can I find the .ma file for Simplebot?
You can find the .ma file here:
http://www.ztrongstudio.com/simple_bot_for_Maya%201.0.zip

Where are SimpleBot's Face Controls?
The face controls can be found under Panels -> Perspective -> Face Cam, which opens the face UI for controlling Ears, Mouth, Blinks etc. Adjust the sliders in the Face Cam view, and watch them update in the perspective or camera view. The face cam can also be torn off in a separate window - probably your best bet.

How do I change his mouth expressions?
On the face UI, you can combine the Mouth, Feel and Trumpet controls to get a range of mouth expressions. "Feel" will change him from happy to sad.

How do I make his head antenna move?
The head antenna controls are sliders in the Face Control UI. Look for L_Ant and R_Ant to make them wiggle up and down.

Can I tilt his eyelids?
Not with the control curves. You can use the Face Control UI to raise Simple Bot's eyelids up and down, but they will not tilt or rotate. However you can select the eyelid geometry and move it - but you may well break the rig, so do this with extreme care, as this is not how the rig is supposed to be used. You can also use L B Exp and R B Exp to make his brows seem happy or sad.

What about Squash and Stretch?
Again, look under the face control UI. The squash and stretch slider is called Squash.

He looks a bit Low Poly - How can I make SimpleBot high resolution?
To make Simple Bot high resolution, click on his body parts and press 3 for smooth mode. To make him low resolution press 1.

Or, follow the instructions contained in the ReadMe text which accompanies the rig.

ReadMe Instructions:

To Switch between Resolutions for the Simple Bot Rig, just make sure to open the Script Editor, then choose Edit > Clear All and Copy any of the following commands, Paste it in the Script Editor, select the text and Middle Mouse Button drag it to your Shelf to make a Button of it.

::::::::: For LOW VERSION :::::::::::

select -r resto_SecLeg_Bot_Foot resto_SecLeg_Bot_Foot1 resto_SecLeg_Bot_Foot_Bend resto_SecLeg_Bot_Foot_Bend1 resto_SecLeg_Bot_Knee resto_SecLeg_Bot_Knee1 resto_SecLeg_Bot_LowLegs resto_SecLeg_Bot_LowLegs1 resto_SecLeg_Bot_Toe resto_SecLeg_Bot_Toe1 resto_SecLeg_Bot_Toe_Bend resto_SecLeg_Bot_Toe_Bend1 resto_SecLeg_Bot_UpLegs resto_SecLeg_Bot_UpLegs1 borde_ojos_SecLeg_Bot_Eye_Frame cejas_SecLeg_Bot_EyeBrow resto_SecLeg_Bot_EyeLid_L_Down resto_SecLeg_Bot_EyeLid_L_Up resto_SecLeg_Bot_EyeLid_R_Down resto_SecLeg_Bot_EyeLid_R_Up resto_SecLeg_Bot_Mouth ojos_SecLeg_Bot_Eye_L ojos_SecLeg_Bot_Eye_R cejas_SecLeg_Bot_EyeBrow1 borde_ojos_SecLeg_Bot_Eye_Frame1 BallMesh ;
displaySmoothness -divisionsU 0 -divisionsV 0 -pointsWire 4 -pointsShaded 1 -polygonObject 1;
subdivDisplaySmoothness -smoothness 1;


::::::::: For HIGH VERSION :::::::::::

select -r resto_SecLeg_Bot_Foot resto_SecLeg_Bot_Foot1 resto_SecLeg_Bot_Foot_Bend resto_SecLeg_Bot_Foot_Bend1 resto_SecLeg_Bot_Knee resto_SecLeg_Bot_Knee1 resto_SecLeg_Bot_LowLegs resto_SecLeg_Bot_LowLegs1 resto_SecLeg_Bot_Toe resto_SecLeg_Bot_Toe1 resto_SecLeg_Bot_Toe_Bend resto_SecLeg_Bot_Toe_Bend1 resto_SecLeg_Bot_UpLegs resto_SecLeg_Bot_UpLegs1 borde_ojos_SecLeg_Bot_Eye_Frame cejas_SecLeg_Bot_EyeBrow resto_SecLeg_Bot_EyeLid_L_Down resto_SecLeg_Bot_EyeLid_L_Up resto_SecLeg_Bot_EyeLid_R_Down resto_SecLeg_Bot_EyeLid_R_Up resto_SecLeg_Bot_Mouth ojos_SecLeg_Bot_Eye_L ojos_SecLeg_Bot_Eye_R cejas_SecLeg_Bot_EyeBrow1 borde_ojos_SecLeg_Bot_Eye_Frame1 BallMesh ;
displaySmoothness -divisionsU 3 -divisionsV 3 -pointsWire 16 -pointsShaded 4 -polygonObject 3;
subdivDisplaySmoothness -smoothness 3;

The eye controller has broken - what can I do?
The eye controller is a bit temperamental and has a tendency to get disconnected from the eyes and eyeballs. Check it regularly and, if it breaks, go back to a previously saved version of the rig where the eye controller is working correctly.

What can you do with SimpleBot?
To see what other animators have done with SimpleBot, go to YouTube and enter the keyword Simple Bot. There are many examples of great animation done with this character.

I can't stretch his legs out, and I get lots of IK Clicking
One of the limitations of the SimpleBot rig is his short legs. You can't extend them far, and this means it is best to take him take very small steps, else you will get a lot of clicking on the IK joints. Like all rigs, it's important to know their limitations.

What kind of restrictions are there on the terms of use?
SimpleBot is free for students to learn on and use it for their Demo Reels - but not for commercial use.

Below is a cool piece of Simple Bot animation by Phil Loeffler.



And below is a nice, imaginative animation test with a modified SimpleBot by animator Andrius Jocevicius.  Note that Andrius has given SimpleBot longer legs - which makes animation easier to control.





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 2017, follow this link. And to sign up for our animation short course, starting at the end of february, click here.  We train all our animators with practical real-world skills, to give them the best possible chance of a career in industry. To see our success stories, follow this link.

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