Thursday, 21 May 2020

Why Animators Need "Rig Wrecking"

Rig concepts from "Jerich0"
What is "Rig Wrecking"? Rig Wrecking, more commonly known as rig testing, is the process of testing your character rigs to make sure they can do everything you need them to do.

Sometimes known as stress testing, this process involves testing out all the controls to make sure everything works as it should, and all the geometry deforms correctly.

Rig testing is a necessary production step; it involves letting animators loose on the rig to do test animation. Skip this step and you will almost certainly find many problems cropping up during the animation stage of the production.

Production rigs from "Home Sweet Home"
Rigging
Rigging characters is a complex process that takes time and effort to get right. It's easy to think that, once the rig is done, it's ready for production. But don't make this mistake; a completed rig isn't ready yet for production - it needs to be thoroughly tested and de-bugged in advance.

Production rig from "Joe"
Animators test the rig
Production rigs from "Jerich0"
The animator's job is to bring the character to life. Animators want to achieve the best animation possible, and they will push the rig to its limit to get the performance they need. This is as it should be - once production begins, the rig will likely need to do things that the rigger almost certainly never had in mind.

Rig Wrecking
At DreamWorks the process is called Rig Wrecking, because the animators are expected to test the rig so hard that they - in effect - wreck it. What can the rig do? What can it not do? Animators and riggers work together, compiling a list of fixes, must-haves and would-like-to-haves, so that the rig has a full range of motion once it goes into production.

Film-making Resources
For more information on making animated short films, follow the links below:

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To find out more about our next evening class in Toonboom Harmony, follow this link.   

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