Friday, 23 October 2015

Recommended Rigs - "Monty" The Green Pea

One of the many rigs that we recommend for student use in the early stages of learning animation is the Monty Rig, created back in 2007 by the very talented Raveen Rajadorai, and free for download at CreativeCrash.com

Monty is a simple character who is described by his creator as "a simple ball with legs. You can control his eyebrows, eyes and do squash and stretch on him".  We would also add that he's very cute, easy to learn, you can easily change his colour and he looks very nice wearing a hat.

Like most rigs, Monty has his quirks. So, how can animators get the most out of the Monty rig?

Monty - Some Problems and Solutions

How do you turn on Monty's brow controls? I can't see them!
Monty's brow controllers are nurbs surfaces. If you tick Nurbs Surfaces under the Show tab in your Viewport, the brow controls will pop up as five small spheres running across his forehead.  You can individually select and rotate them to get various brow expressions.

Smooth Monty
To get the best quality playback for Monty, it helps to set him to Smooth Mode before you begin animating.  Click on his head controller to find the smooth slider and set it to 1.

Where can I download Monty?
You can find him here: http://www.creativecrash.com/maya/downloads/character-rigs/c/monty

I am animating a walk cycle and his knees keep popping - what's going wrong?
When using Monty to create a walk cycle, avoid having Monty take really big steps. Small steps are
easier to control. Big steps will cause IK problems with Monty’s knees, because the his legs will stretch out too much and the knees will "pop".

Monty's pole vectors are hard to control
The pole vectors are the little crosses in front of his knees. They can be a bit hard to keyframe, so we recommend, as part of setting up the rig, moving them some distance (a few grid units) further away from Monty's knees, when you start. This will help stop "popping" of his knees later in the animation.

Why does Monty look weird in profile?
Monty looks a bit strange viewed from the side. Rather like Hello Kitty, he doesn't turn well. It's best to stage Monty from a front or three-quarter view.

Video Demonstration
To see a quick 90 second demonstration of Monty (recommended) watch this video below





Most of all, have fun with Monty. He's an entertaining, flexible rig, and you can do tons of cool stuff with him. Check out this funny "take" below.




Below are some Monty walks by Animation Apprentice student Neil Whitman.





Finally, consider giving him a hat (Monty looks nice in a hat!), and make sure you only use him for your demo reels, not for commercial use.

----Alex

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