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Technical Paper:
Troll

This is another character that was done for autodesk for the purpose of testing 3DS Max with heavy production rigs. The idea was to create rigs that would usualy cause lags in previous versions of Max. This rig went far past that but it still real time without any slow downs at all.

The model was designed and created by John Chalfant and was rigged at PEN Productions by Paul Neale. John was hopping to complete this character and animate it in some sequences but I'm guessing that he has just been far to busy.

This character rig is very complex as it is built with a layered approch. IK and FK systems control a skin system that includes stretchy dynamic muscles and extensive custom control systems.


The animation control rig consists of the IK and FK bones and control systems. Spline IK was used again with the ability to have it stretch or not, an indecator was used behind the character to show the amount of stretch on the rig so that it could be seen even when the mesh was showing.

Focus lock is used on the head so that eye lines could be kept with the head, this can also be turned off so that in scenes where focus on the head isn't nessesary so it cuts down on the animation that needs to be done.



The foot controls are extensive because of the amount of flexability that they have. Although it can be time consumming to deal with all the spinners the task is made far easier once many poses have been saved in the PEN Attribute Holder.

I also added a Foot Roll and In and Out Roll for the feet that have been set up so the toes curl correctly. This takes much of the load off the animator for the basic foot movments but also allows them to customize the pose of the foot. Once again that new pose can be saved and loaded on the other foot and reused at any time.

The main control panel is a reusable custom attribute definition that can be added to any object in the scene. It uses weak referencing to store the nodes that make up the characters rig and mesh. If there are changes in the characters naming convertions no changes are needed to the main controls as it doesn't reference the characters name property.

Tools for character resolution, keying and resetting poses, mirroring poses and selections of controls for the purpose of keying. These tools are available on any of the control objects as this control panel is instanced to each of them.

Mirroring is capable of being done over different pivot points because it is the transform matrix that is being mirrored and not just rotations. This allows for more flexability when creating and reusing poses in animation.



John Chalfant did an out standing job on modeling the troll, Zbrush was used for the final but at this point I don't have any final renders to show here.

In this image you can see the double leg set up that was used to drive the double knee joint of the legs when in IK mode. This allowed for control over the double joint so that the main knee joint recieves more rotation then the raised ankle joint. Added bias control is also available for the animator so they can flex the raised ankle more or less if needed.


Wire frame of the model showing turbosmooth set to 1 iteration. Some skinning issues still need to be addressed and the final model updated as there have been changes made from when it was first created.