Rigging papers

Because of the boring commute / subway riding I have been reading papers/sketches. Here are some of my favorites. I really hope to find some time in the near future to write a few more Maya plug-ins / nodes or improve my old ones.

Spiderman 3 Muscle and Skin Musculoskeletal Skinning
  • Muscle shape: NURBS surface from curves, keep volume
  • Muscle to skin deformer: paintable linear or dual quaternion interpolation, paintable sliding (bulge/shrink along attachment vector)
  • Pose space deformer
  • Jiggle deformer: For muscle shapes, spring based solver/equasion
  • Skin tension: spring based, projected back on mesh (closest point), user defined smooth/average steps
iRobot Character Pipeline Tools and Methods
  • Animation curve re-mapping with NURBS surface
  • Gaussian filtering on animation against motion pops
  • Pose based deformation
  • Custom wrap deformer
  • Animation friendly jiggle node
  • Custom cluster deformer
  • Deform eye geometry to fake eye refraction
Basically all papers by Erick Miller are super-cool, especially if you look at how old some of them are. He uploaded most (or all?) of the demo videos on his YouTube account:

And this is a more educational paper:
The Morphology of Digital Creatures


My default Maya settings

Here are some Maya settings I prefer over the default ones. Maybe there is something useful for someone else. It's all MEL code, so it can be copied in the script editor.

// Switch file browsing to OS native browser
// Reason: _Slow_, missing features, bugs 
//  (delete shortcut to folder will delete folder, ...)
// Menu: Window > Settings/Preferences > Settings > Files/Projects
optionVar -iv FileDialogStyle 1;
// To show file extensions in filter settings
optionVar -iv FileDialogHideExtension false;

// Increase undo queue size
// Window > Settings/Preferences > Preferences > Settings > Undo
undoInfo -length 150;

// Disable mouse scroll wheel in viewport (will still work in menus, etc)
// Reason: Undo gets broken if you scroll the mouse, while the mouse-wheel is pressed.
// Menu: Windows > Settings/Preferences > Preferences > Interface > Devices > Mouse scroll wheel
mouse -enableScrollWheel false;
// hotBox transparency to 0%
// Reason: It is easier / faster to read
// Menu: Right quarter in hotbox: Hotbox controls > Set transparency
hotBox -tr 0;
// Grey background color, like the default in older Maya versions
// Menu: Windows > Settings/Preferences > Color Settings
// Default shortcut: alt+b
displayRGBColor "background" 0.631 0.631 0.631;
// displayRGBColor -q "background";// Get current background color:
// Hide UI elements 
// Reason: Increase viewport space. 
// Menu: Display > UI Elements > ... 
// Or right click on a double dotted line on the edge of a visible UI element (status bar, timeline, ...) 
// Or hotBox, left-click in empty space in the right quarter. 
ToggleModelEditorBars;// Every option can be reached with two clicks 
toggleUIComponentVisibility "Tool Box";// Using default shortcutsQWERZY... instead. And top quarter of hotbox for camera setups 
//toggleUIComponentVisibility "Range Slider";// I rarely change it 
toggleUIComponentVisibility "Help Line";// Not usefull after using Maya for years 
//toggleUIComponentVisibility "Status Line";
toggleUIComponentVisibility "Shelf"; 
// Disable the interactive Polygon / NURBS creation. 
// Reason: To save clicks / time. I get to the desired shape faster using modeling tools. 
// Menu: Create / NURBS Primitives / Interactive Creation 
/*// only works after menu has been opened 
optionVar -intValue createNurbsPrimitiveAsTool 0;// nurbs 
menuItem -e -cb 0 toggleCreateNurbsPrimitivesAsToolItem; // nurbs 
optionVar -intValue createPolyPrimitiveAsTool 0;// poly 
menuItem -e -cb 0 toggleCreatePolyPrimitivesAsToolItem;// poly 
// Playback range of 100 frames. 
// Reason: More frames for deformation test animations. Still easy to identify each frame 
playbackOptions -min 1 -max 100; 
// This is also a "New Scene" option, so to fix it there: 
optionVar -fv playbackMinDefault 1; 
optionVar -fv playbackMaxDefault 100; 
optionVar -fv playbackMinRangeDefault 1; 
optionVar -fv playbackMaxRangeDefault 100; 
// Hotbox show one type only (animation, ...)  
// Reason: I use the hotbox for most operations, so I want it to be small to be able to click faster. 
hotBox -ao; setMenuMode animationMenuSet;// updateHotboxOptionVarSettings(); 
// Remove viewcube  
// Reason: Save space, it does not help me. 
viewManip -visible off; optionVar -iv viewCubeShowCube 0; 
// More precise channel box attribute sliding 
channelBoxSettings hyperbolic true; 
// More precise channel box display 
global string $gChannelBoxName; 
channelBox -e -precision 4 $gChannelBoxName; 
// Heads-up display 
// Display > Heads Up Display > Poly Count 
setPolyCountVisibility 1; 
// Display > Heads Up Display > Frame Rate 
setFrameRateVisibility 1; 
// Linear animation curves (for test animations / skinning) 
keyTangent -global -itt linear; keyTangent -global -ott linear; 

// Reduce camera animation time
// Window > Settings/Preferences > Preferences > Settings > Camera > Animate Camera Transitions > Total Time
optionVar -fv "totalAnimateRollTime" 0.1;

// command line: hold focus
// Preferences > Interface > Interface > Command Line [] Hold focus
optionVar -iv commandLineHoldFocus true; commandLine -e -holdFocus true $gCommandLine;
// Save preferences 
// -----------------------------------------
// -----------------------------------------
// Disable "Automatic Orient Joints" in Move tool 
// The following command does not work, because it will not get stored to the default move tool context. 
// string $myMoveContext = `manipMoveContext`; 
// manipMoveContext -e -orientJointEnabled 0 $myMoveContext; 
// Hypershade: Hide left and top areas, so only work area is left. Also change material display from icon to list, so materials/textures do not get loaded when opening hypershade 
// Note: Hypershade settings do not seem to get stored (except position and window size, maybe write in usersetup file)?... 
// In Paint skin weights tool disable "Display > XRay Joints" because when leaving tool xray joint stays active and I rarely use it in the first place 
// Show > Isolate Select > Auto Load New Objects 
// string $eachPanel; 
// for ($eachPanel in `get all panels`){ 
// isoSelectAutoAddNewObjs $eachPanel true; } 
// -----------------------------------------
// 2014
// -----------------------------------------
// ignore version
optionVar -intValue fileIgnoreVersion true;
// incremental save
// edge flow 1.0 everywhere

Some Maya related Windows settings I like to change::
  • Computer > Properties > Advanced System settings > Advanced > Performance > Visual Effects > Adjust for best performance
  • Mouse: Increase speed, disable "precision" (mouse accelleration)
  • Taskbar: Small icons, do not combine icons/tabs

Result will look like this on Windows 7