What has been going on…

It has been a while since I have posted but I can answer that by saying a lot and not so much. Not long after my last post I got the spine added to the mechanical cat rig completing version 4. Eventually I will go back and do another version with some improvements. Besides that, I have been doing a mix of my own work and work for a project. Among things I have done on my own is a new rig for the dragon model from a couple of years ago. I made some changes to the model that make it more appealing but there are still some changes with the pose that would help the rig. Another thing I did was take the props rigging course mentored by Jeff Brodsky through Rigging Dojo. The primary project for the course was a rope bridge like the one seen in Horton Hears a Who. The result of it can be seen now in my reel.

Now about that project I mentioned. In May, an animator I follow on Twitter put out a call for character riggers to help with a collaboration on a short. I sent him an email with my reel and he asked me if I wanted to join as they liked my reel. I’m not going to share much more than that but I have been working on one of the characters for a few months now and it is coming along nicely. The whole process has been a great learning experience giving me the chance to create something, hand it over to the animators to get their feedback, then making the changes or figuring out how to add in the features they want.

I think that is about it for now. I’ll post again soon about a system I created to go along with the project rig as well as the variable FK system created by Jeff Brodsky that I have been using.

When you get a ton of clients notes at 4pm and have to address them all for a new posting at 10am the next morning


This happens quite frequently for me when working on animatics.

(Reblogged from animatorlife)

So this is one thing I have been working on lately. It is part of my rebuild of the mechanical cat rig that I started last month. I rebuilt the legs already so they can move out but this spine was my next challenge. Originally I used a IK Spline but the spine wouldn’t straighten out then so I switched to a regular IK. The problem then was to get each piece rotating as it should without swaying or disconnecting. That basically means I had to use a whole assortment of corrections to counter rotations and keep everything in check. That includes 3 sets of joints with one for the main IK, a second with each segment IK’ed to control the angle of the third which allowed each piece to rotate along the Z axis and keep the X and Y oriented in the correct direction like an actual U joint would. There is a Pole  Vector control to allow the angle to be shifted but that also required a correction Pole  Vector control which you can see at the bottom to keep the end in line.

Next up in my series of posts from my sketchbook, we have drawings I did at the beginning of my sculpture class. There were only two of us in the class and the instructor wanted to make sure we understood proportion. I had a decent grasp of it but the other guy seemed to have some trouble which became very clear when we moved onto clay.

What we drew varied a bit. Sometimes he would have comic book art for us to draw or he had us find a physical object like a action figure. In this set, only the last one was drawn from a physical object. I did leave out a few of the first drawings that had no pose, just proportions.

As you can see, I have a little bit of trouble with faces. That did carry over to my sculptures which I will post later.

Here are the last few projects for my perspective class starting with a 2 point room, then a 2 point farm, and finishing with a 3 point room.

My class was a bit behind what the other perspective class was. There were so many students that it was split into two. They ended up joining our class once or twice because the other instructor was sick briefly. At that time, the end of the 2 point farm project, I was ahead of my own class and ended up moving onto 3 point early. 

As you can see, I tried to have some fun with the 2 point farm by adding small things such as the Planet Express ship and the Robot Devil.

I figure I could use something to post so I might as well upload some of my old drawing work. I had a few classes in school that featured drawing starting with a perspective class. Later on, we did drawing in my sculpture class so the instructor knew we could understand proportion correctly. 

These 6 are from the first part of the perspective class. They aren’t really too imaginative as we were told exactly what to include. Each one has three stages: Grid, rough and final.


I am really not sure if I would call 2013 an eventful year but it was definitely more eventful that in the past. The two major things were finishing school with a BA in VFX and Digital Media as well as being selected by Disney to attend Inspire Day.

Finishing school has been great as it has opened up my time to learn more things I am interested in such as rigging. Things at my former school have also changed recently and from what I have heard, they haven’t exactly been good changes. Mainly what I know is that some of the great teachers have not been given classes so they have gone elsewhere.

It has been three months and I still think back to visiting Disney quite often. I have been to Rhythm and Hues, The Asylum, and Obsidian Games for studio tours but none of them can hold a candle to what Walt Disney Animation Studios offered me. RnH was a neat place and we got to see the studio, talk to a few artists, and then leave. The Asylum, in my opinion, is a bit of a joke while Obsidian was just interesting.

Being selected by WDAS, it revealed that I am on the right track and gave me plenty to be inspired about. It was more personal than school taking a group of students to a studio to look around the place. I have always been one to take matters into my own hands and I plan to continue that. I know a whole lot more about rigging and modeling now than before with various projects in the works. I am starting to learn Zbrush now and at some point I will revisit my dynamics project to produce a more complete version.

Another year down with many more to go.

Revisiting a Rig

Earlier this year I did a rig for a mechanical cat that was posted on CGtalk in their Rigging Challenge section. I think I have mentioned it before but it has been in my rigging example reel for a while. As I have uncovered more about rigging, I realized that things should have been done differently. In the last version, I used a series of IKs in groups which I programmed using set driven keys. In some cases it worked fine but in other cases it created errors. Some I had fixed by controlling settings that are probably best left alone.

So a few weeks ago, I decided to revisit it but use what I had learned since my last attempt. Starting with the spine, I wanted to try a flexiplane which proved difficult since the spine isn’t completely straight. Still, I came up with a way of doing it by using a curve from a spline IK with blendshapes to get it to adjust to the correct shape. I created the flexiplane without any issues but the issues came in getting the joints to do what I wanted them to do since each piece only moves in specific ways. Some can only rotate the X, the Y, or the Z axis. In the end, I settled on just a spline IK with the tail section following the main body.

Next up were the legs. My setup would suggest an IKFK system but the way I programmed the lower section, FK wouldn’t really work that well. Still, I tried a few different ways of setting up the joints to move how I wanted and hit some snags. I couldn’t get the leg to move in all directions by locking some rotational axises. As with the spine, the parts can only rotate along one axis. My solution was to lock the foot controls X translation and use a Z rotation control at the top of the leg instead which works just fine but is one more step that I want out of the system. The legs did require a correction system since the position changes when the shocks at the top are moved. A simple 2 joint chain where the two rotation points were and an IK tied to the lower section worked. I just used the rotation generated from that to correct both the top and bottom Z rotations.

For the ankle/foot section, I used locators instead of joints. I then put those locators in a series of groups that had pivots at different locators to create the correct movement. Some actions required moving higher locators which caused issues as lower ones needed to remain where they were so they were split up and given separate groups with the same pivot points and linked together. Combine this with multiply nodes that countered the initial rotation made the movements possible. The back leg even has an extending ankle that allowed me to discover a few new controls I didn’t know about but let me adjust the pivot point based on the ankle length. Testing that did lead me to realizing that some parts weren’t staying connected because the split groups weren’t changing with the leg. For example, the Y rotation for the foot wasn’t changing position/angle when the ankle section was bent so it would detach.

I think that is enough talking. I screen captured my demo of the rig and put it in my rigging reel here: https://vimeo.com/82909871

I am in the process of doing an animated presentation of it now.


So CTNX has come and gone for another year with this year having a few more bumps than last year from my perspective at least. I think it may be best to save that part for later. Sorry in advanced because this is a lot of text.

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Sol - Opening Titles Concept from Darrol Moore on Vimeo.

Since I said I would post here more, I present this little project I did earlier this year for one of my classes.

Basically I have had this idea for a short film for a couple years now but I am still working up to making it. In that time, I have created a poster which is now hanging up in my school’s main hallway and this animated intro that was styled after the poster.

I really don’t consider this a final version. When I actually create the short, I know of a way to work this into it pretty seamlessly but there are some changes I would make such as going into full on traditional animation mode on the fishing line. In this version, it is just an animated mask with a stroke applied to it which created a problem because animating masks are a linear thing.