Monday, 7 December 2015

Flour Sack Rigs!

Rockin' Rooster Flour Sack
Meet the flour sack! The free flour sack rig is one we like to use in the early stages of learning animation, so that students can get used to the idea of creating the illusion of weight, and also getting a performance from an inanimate object.

The idea of making a flour sack give a performance dates back to the early days of the Walt Disney studios, when lead animators would test the mettle of aspiring juniors by getting them to do thumbnail sketches of sacks of flour, to see if they could get an emotional and interesting pose that communicated an idea clearly.

The idea was, if you can get a great pose out of a sack of flour - you can do it with anything.

Rockin' Rooster

Rockin' Rooster flour sack

There are in fact two flour sack rigs we recommend. The first, shown above and right, is the Rockin' Rooster flour sack by key-framer, which you can download free at Creative Crash.

Getting started
To animate effectively with the Rockin' Rooster flour sack rig, first start by selecting the two square red and green feet controls on the flour sack rig (shown right) and, in the channel box, change the Parent setting from World to Main.

This will make sure that the feet follow the Main Body Control, which will make the flour sack much easier to animate.

How do I stop the red and green colour blocks on his feet showing up in my renders?
Put the colour blocks on a new layer in the Layer Editor, then toggle the layers visibility - it wont be visible in the render.

I'm getting weird shapes on the rig - what shall I do?
Note that this is an easy rig to break. Don't stretch or bend it too far else it will start to break apart. If you are getting weird deformations, try zeroing out some of the values in the Channel Box.

The most common mistake made by animators with the Rockin' Rooster flour sack rig is to animate too many control curves at once - and breaking the rig. The flour sack will distort easily so be careful you don't break it.

Joe Daniels' Flour Sack Rig

The second rig we recommend is also downloadable for free at Creative Crash. It was created by Joe Daniels and it's a great little rig, created for "Maya 2013 and up".

Posing Tips
Joe recommends "thinking of the yellow cylinder controls (Top_Control and Bottom_Control) as the primary first-pass pose controls, and pose them first.  The shoulder controls have an attribute that sets whether they follow the hierarchy, or are free to stick to the world.  You may want to change this, depending on your scene."

To see examples of cool animation done by our students using these rigs, check out the examples below:

1. A Floury Ending - flour sack leap by Lee Caller


2. Flour sack leap by Rich Jeffrey


3. Flour sack leap by Greg Gordon


4. Flour sack leap by Dave Berry


5. Flour sacks leaping by Giuseppe Candido


6. Flour sack leap by Tracey Chung


7. Flour sack leap by Lyuboslav Angelov


To find out more about Animation Apprentice, click here for a link to Frequently Asked Questions. To sign up for our next classroom at Animation Apprentice, follow this link.

----Alex

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