Thursday, 26 November 2015

Meet Heavy from Team Fortress!

One of the rigs we recommend for learning animation is the Heavy Rig, based on the Team Fortress character, and free for download at Creative Crash. He is particularly good for learning the early stages of animation - locomotion and mechanics.

Heavy is a relatively low poly and hence will likely give you real-time playback in your view port. So, no hanging around waiting to playblast. The controls are simple and easy to use, and all the curves are in logical places. It's also pretty stable and tends not to cause Maya to crash.

All rigs have their quirks and foibles.  So, how can our students get the best out of Heavy?

Who created Heavy and where can I find him?
Look for HEAVY_RIG_EYe_r_J
Sachin Pokhriyal created Heavy, and he can be downloaded free at Creative Crash.

What is the license?
Heavy is freeware. However, the rights to the original character from Team Fortress are owned by the Valve Corporation, who created the original game, so in practice this rig can only be used for learning animation - not for commercial use. 

Where are the facial controls?
Heavy's facial controls are fairly limited. Heavy isn's really suitable for close-up acting or performance work, though he will do basic expressions.

What's up with Heavy's eyes? They are invisible if I render with Mental Ray.
If you shift his Eye group "HEAVY_RIG_EYe_r_J" to be within his existing group "HEAVY_RIG_Head_Ctrl" that should do it. This would put the HEAVY_RIG_EYe_r_J group at the same level and group as his other eye group "HEAVY_RIG_Eye_CTrl".

I'm getting some problems in Maya 2016 - how can I solve them?
To solve possible problems in Maya 2016, switched over to Parallel mode for better functionality.
Go to windows > settings and preferences and then in the settings > animation category, change the drop down menu for evaluation mode to "Parallel".

The Heavy rig keeps breaking whenever I keyframe it
If your rig breaks when you animate (where the control curves become detached from the mesh), you can try the following fix (it's the same one as shown above). Go into your Preferences window and select Animation from the left hand column, just below Settings.  Under the Evaluation Mode, select Parallel instead of DG. That should fix it.

Below is an inventive walk cycle by one of our students, Lee Caller.

If you have questions or comments about the Heavy rig, please add them below.


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