Rigged and Running
About two weeks ago we promised animations and finally here we go!
This is just the first iteration of a run cycle. Went Naruto style to try to emphasize those hands are heavy! 😅 There will definitely be updates to this in the future.
So what took so long? Lots of learning and failing that is what took so long.
To go from 3D model to animation requires a rig and vertex weights. Which turned out to be a lot more difficult than expected. The original thought was to use services to make things easier but they were often just too confusing or incompatible. Started with Mixamo and got kind of excited because it loaded and we got to see their animations working. There were some oddities in the final rig and weights though. After a bit of a struggle it was decided to look elsewhere.
Blender has a built in addon called rigify and there is another paid add-on called Auto Rig Pro that we also gave a shot. Both were very cool. Made generating a rig super simple. Especially ARP. After playing with both and deciding on ARP, suddenly thought it might be a good idea to see a simple idle animation in the game engine. And this is where it fell apart. Armory does not seem to be compatible with ARP rigs. Nor rigify rigs as we'd find out later.
So having done a custom armature previously and abandoned it because of all the other options. Then finding out none of the other options work so well with our engine. Ended up going back to the custom route after all. Luckily there were some absolutely great tutorials around. So we ended up with something like this.
It is not as pretty as some other rigs you'll see but it does the job. After adding some constraints and drivers in blender, got to wondering why the other rigs weren't compatible with armory and started to worry it was because they automatically added constraints and drivers! So had to then check out the engine with the new custom rig. Pleasantly surprised it worked just fine! 😀
In addition to all the rig woes painting vertex weights was really a not fun task. So after the add-ons for rigging didn't work out wasn't so sure another addon was the way to go. Perhaps it'd be best to just go straight to manually weighting. The built in Blender automatic weights that most start from just was not very good. The legs were constantly flying through the shorts and lots of other problems meant a ton of painting ahead. So ended up breaking down and going for Voxel Heat Diffuse Skinning addon after all. Luckily this one does nothing that can be incompatible with Armory and it worked really great! The only things it failed on was the fingers and a few custom parts that were always going to need attention. So finally the character was rigged and weighted.
Time to animate. And animate we did. Lots more to go but a simple breathing idle animation and the start of the run animation are done. Can start building up the player controls in the game engine to go along with the animations. Soon actual gameplay could be taking place!
Also took a detour in there somewhere and played around with the textures some. The previous model was just a single simple diffuse map. Now the textures have albedo, occlusion, and emission maps. So color changes can take place easier. And as can probably be seen in the pictures there is now a bloom effect to push that glow!
Pretty excited to finally be sharing again. Hope everyone likes it!