The last step I am currently finalising for both The Little Knight and the Dark Knight is to polish the weight paintings for the eyes. Here are some screen shots of the facial expressions for both characters. They are almost there but just need some final polishing. Due to the character having a unique facial appearance and not a proper facial structure, it was very difficult to find specific references or tutorials on this type of facial rigging, even though there are thousands of tutorials available over the internet.
To finish up the rigging for the Little Knight production, I have rendered out a couple callisthenics tests showing off their movements as well as creating some custom lighting rigs for the renders.
The Dark Knight still has some minor weight painting issues especially with the strap around the chest. This will be easily fixed with polished weight maps.
Once most kinks had been sorted with the rigging in The Little Knight, I then moved onto the role in the project to sort and prepare the master scene file. This scene could then be used by the animators. Every asset was then added in as a reference, so that if any changes were made they would automatically be updated in the master scene. There have been many major and minor changes, too many to list, but due to having the master reference scene no major breaking issues occurred. Each week on Monday, we have had a production meeting for “The Little Knight”. At the end of each meeting, all the updates were zipped and uploaded to the shared OneDrive. Every time the file was updated, members of the project that were working on animation would simply just have to download the ZIP file and replace the older files. These updates could be simple changes like cleaning up the layers/outliner or adding textures.
Another role I have taken is some of the FX and simulation of the environment, for example, adding in cloth dynamics to the flags, as well as adding in animated grass. The grass element will be added if the render times do not blow out of proportion. At this stage using Mayas xGen to generate fields of grass are not portable between computers, unless the cache files have been exported correctly. This is something I am going to spend time on when working on my next role in setting up the master environment into its render layers. Once the lighting has been finalised I can then begin setting up the render layers in the master scene and focus on optimising the scene to see how long each layer is going to take to render.
Currently, the master environment has just been setup using reference lighting rigs. This is because Arnold requires at least one light to render out an image, instead of just a black screen.
Here are some simulation and lighting tests that I have done
Looped flag simulation