Webinar “Upgrade Your Skill”


Puppeteer Lounge Training Webinar goes in-depth on certain workflows, topics, skills and techniques demonstrated by industry professionals to the participants during a live presentation. We also provide the video recording of these webinars for purchase. Below is the list of previously organized Exclusive Training Webinar Events.

In this Exclusive Webinar, Ehsan Kiani explains all the insides and secrets of Skin Simulation in Maya. Learn the art and technique of simulating anatomically correct Human Musculoskeletal – FAT system to create realistic character deformation using nCloth and Maya rigging tool-set!

Special thanks to our guest instructor Ehsan Kiani for sharing all the tips and trickeries on FAT & SKIN Simulation inside Maya.

We caught up with Ehsan Kiani to discuss his experience as a Character TD and share his insights about the CG industry!

Puppeteer Lounge: Hey Ehsan, tell us about your experience on the game cinematics and the movies as a rigging technical director and what led you to those great production?

I started as a generalist almost 10 years ago and I gradually developed the technical aspects of the 3D packages. I had a strong passion for rigging characters, creatures and objects and it was interesting to bring a still 3D model to life and make it able to move around. I let the world see what I could do with my demo reels and soon recruiters from different studios started emailing me and my rigging career began. I believe that strong passion and self-motivation is the key to get into great productions. Beside I was and still am socializing with friends from industry and different studios. It always helps to share ideas and get inspired and inspire others, and absolutely this has had a big impact on my journey, as people got to know me and my ideas.

PL: Can you tell us the difference between a game rig and a movie or cinematic rig?

Essentially all the rigs could be very similar but each industry has its own requirements. In game industry a game rig is aligned to what the game engine can support, so before designing a game rig you must be aware of that specifics of your working game engine. A couple of simple examples would be vertex binding limitation, and locating the joints around your 3D model as the amount of joints is limited due to the engine and moveable object counts. When you’re working on a game rig you must manage your date and the rig as much as possible, so nothing breaks and rigs can get exported without any headache. In the other hand a movie rig is something that you can go wild with. You can have the animation and deformation rig separate and approaches like that enables fast working rigs for animators and heavy deformation rigs that could be cached out for the rest of the pipeline. A movie rig gives you more freedom and you can do whatever that works as long as deformation rigs does not affect your animation rig lightness.

PL: Did new technologies affect your work over the years?

Yes, obviously the technology has very exponential growth and it will impact your work if you cannot get along follow it. Most of these changes are for better so I usually adopt myself to the new technologies as they can be required by clients or you can offer the change when you’re ahead of current technology. For example, a system like Blueprint in Unreal Engine, it’s beautiful technology and can transform the process of a lot of complex coding to a smooth node graph connection. Another example is Fabric Engine, it’s a new paradigm and simplify and unifies most of the 3D packages.

PL: What approaches do you usually take for muscle and fat simulation?

This is a very huge subject to discuss since I worked with different muscle sim tools during the years. I used to use Maya cMuscle system for sometimes, but I found it slow. It’s a great tool but when doing muscle and fat simulation works the faster and the quicker previews you can get the better you can setup. I changed my approach few years ago to a system that uses cloth simulation tools and the results are solid. I have written some tools to create muscles objects for the creatures I work on and then I use a cloth simulation system like nCloth as the deformation solver. It’s possible to use any cloth simulation other than nCloth to do this but you have to know how to control the cloth simulation well to be able to get a good muscle and fat simulation out of it.

PL: Has scripting and coding been important for your work during the years?

For sure. In fact, I never have rigged something without help of scripting and programming. I had to either fasten the process or calculate a formula for my rigs that could bring precision and control for animators in the rig. I also jumped into the programming world to understand the deeper aspects of coding and It has given me a lot of understanding of even the rigging and the whole frameworks and how things are working together and interconnected under the hood. Plus, with programming and scripting you can make plugins for auto rigging and skinning and a lot of utilities that really without them rigging would be a lengthy process and tiring.

PL: How important is to understand anatomy of creatures and objects in general?

Anatomy is the most important fundamental of rigging I believe, whether you need to rig a character, creature or a shoe. They all have anatomy, so with understanding anatomy you can locate the skeleton or structure of a system at the right location and in regard to the whole working system. Also if you learn the physiology of an organ or part of mechanical system you can get a better picture of how it works and then set it up. I totally recommend reading anatomy book and having daily study about it to sharpen your understanding and therefore to design higher quality rigs.

PL: Any word for students who might be interested to have more information about your rigging webinar with Puppeteer Lounge?

Get ready, I’m about share what I know for one of the most challenging issues of the productions for those of you are looking to develop your understanding of anatomy and rigging. And please some skinning before your sign up! 🙂

In this Exclusive Webinar, Andrew explains all the insides and secrets of setting up corrective shapes using the SHAPES tool by brave rabbit. Learn to setup an expressive facial rig and create anatomically correct articulation for the body!

Special thanks to our guest instructor Andrew Silke from Create 3d Characters for sharing such brilliant tips and trickery on using SHAPES and Ingo Clemen the master behind SHAPES who was present the whole time answering questions and sharing his insights

SHAPES is a really powerful tool that let’s an artist to focus more into the creative side or process of character setup and speed up the workflow exponentially.

In this Exclusive Webinar, Suchan explains special techniques on character deformation! Not just the classic Skin Cluster deformation, but how you can exploit existing in-built deformers to push your rigging expertise to the next level!

What is a non-roll setup, when to use it and how to build it. Victor explains all the insides and secrets of the non-roll setup for rigging a character’s shoulder area!

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