Here's another TV commercial I played a major role in the making of:
I modeled and rigged the tape. The texture was meticulously replicated from a real reference tailoring tape by +Hau Tran my fellow colleague.
A total of three people animated the tape in this commercial. +Hau Tran , +Tassadiq Omar, and myself. I kept track of the shots and coordinated the animation schedule.
There were about 16 tape shots (out of 20 shots in total). This is the first time in my 1 year of working in the company where we needed handle the same object throughout such a huge number of shots. Therefore we needed consistency as well as a good game plan to ensure continuity in shape and speed, between the different artists that were doing the shot.
In this TV commercial, the main subject is the tailoring tape. It has
got to be flexible, directable in shape, and controllable by the
animator in a reasonably straightforward manner. I would only truly be confident of handling the project if we had a solid rig able to achieve the shapes specified in the story board.
Unfortunately, this project was on a very short deadline (1 week of modeling/texturing/rigging, and 5 days of animating, rendering, Autodesk Smoke compositing online).
All the way up to the stage when we were already animating and producing shots, we were still apprehensive about how certain parts of the tape was still not totally controllable. There were some kinks in the rig that could not be easily or properly troubleshooted and fixed in the amount of time we have.
From a rigging perspective, I attempted driving the tape with a skeleton, using a forward kinematic rig, or a Spline IK rig. But all of them did not give enough control I knew the director would ultimately want.
A huge area of my worries revolved around the twisting and flipping of the tape along its path of travel.With a large number of controllers travelling down a path, it was impractical for the animator to manually control the twist of each controller.
Eventually the final rig was a combination of a spline path and an huge number of clusters controllers.
In the end the rig was not perfect, and there were unpredictable twisting. The metal tipped ends of the tape suffered from kinked shapes as they travel down the path. These needed manual fixing by animated vertices.
I also scripted a window so the animating artists could easily select, access, hide and unhide different levels of controllers.
Throughout the whole process there was a lot of communication between the entire team of artists and compositor. There was a lot of conversations and tossing around of ideas and rig feedback between Hau +hau and myself, and I appreciate his views and sense of responsibility and ownership to the project.
Finally it was a stressful project but overall satisfying because I managed to pull off a complicated rig, and single-handedly manage the animation schedule, and ultimately, deliver the project on time.
I will show a demonstration of my rig in another post.