BIRDS RIGGING  by Ludovic Habas 

First mission

The first mission entrusted to me is the realization of a rig of a realistic hen for a series project of the studio Tu Nous Za Pas Vus. It was in 2011 and the deadlines were short.

The first problem was how to create and manage feathers. At that time on 3ds Max, nothing convincing existed.

Plugins like Ornatrix were still underdeveloped and do not allow us to easily obtain the desired result.

Feather management

The realization of our own tools of creation and management of feathers quickly became necessary.

To meet deadlines, we needed something relatively simple to code and use.

So I used Maxscript and imagined a tool that works like a kind of Scatterring to easily place hundreds of feathers on our main mesh.

The placement of the feathers was automatically staggered and the feathers were tied to the mesh of the hen by attachment constraints. Their orientation was easily customizable with the script. Mods on the feathers simulated bounces or wind if needed. It was a little heavy but gave a satisfactory result.

A giant pigeon

The next project was the creation of a pigeon that had to be able to open and close its wings in close-up. The main difficulty here was initially to understand how the wings of birds work. So we studied this in pet shops on real birds.

Once the movement was assimilated, it remained to interpret it with the rig tools at disposal.

It is the combination of paths constraints and morphers that made the movement with the most convincing rendering possible.

The griffin: the challenge

For the Impériali project with the studio the work was of another magnitude.

The desired customer make an imposing griffin with two large wings. Each of them had to have more than 150 feathers!

Time of development

To make the rig of so many feathers by hand is a long work. In addition, it was necessary to remain flexible in the event of a change in the customer's design. So I quickly concluded that on this project develop a auto-rig of wings would be profitable.

So I thought and realized a tool where I just draw the desired wing shape, then choose the number of bones for the arm, the number of feathers and the script builded automaticaly a rig with a homogeneous placement of the feathers and made automaticaly the symmetry.

Each feather is Rigged in such a way that it is possible with the tool to apply an automatic delay as well as automatic movements simulating the wind.

Proxy recommended

The other problem on the griffin was the management of small feathers.

They were placed with my first placement tool, but their number made the scene heavy and unstable.

To get to make the griffin anyway, I separated the scene into 2 linked files: a proxy scene to animate and a rendering scene.

Over time

Several other projects allowed me to continue developing more or less realistic and more or less complex bird rigs. Each project with its technical challenge is always a good experience and allows me to improve my skills in this area.

One of my favorites, this parrot for the studio