Recently i was doing an animation job and got to thinking about rigging one of my cars like in the disney films. So thats where i'm going & thought i'd post my progress..
I studied what the cars were up to in the films, working out what would be the best animation controls. As i want to be able to use the rigging on other cars as well i decided to stick with null points & deformers to get the little guy moving.
The wheels basically need to be on a separate rig (joined by the shocks). Each wheel also needs a FK (drive like a car) & IK option to use its wheels like hands.
Its all very raw right now as there are other things to take into account like how the wheels squash, lean & rotate as the car (or just the cars body) moves. Far more of a headache than it looks onscreen.
Still i'm well on route now adding all kinds of bits and bobs. I can already get some character into him..
I remember hearing in an interview with one of the lead designers that they first projected the eyes onto the windscreens Seeing as i'd like to be able to use this rig on other cars, that might just turn out to be a great time saver..
So today is a test day. In the mean time i'll leave you with a bunch of sketches i did to try & understand the rules to these kinds of eyes.
The camera projection material seems to be holding up well..
So far i made a plane with a basic skeleton on it for each of the points of the eye lids (more of a monobrow). Then got them all looking at the centre point of the eyes..
While i like where its going i think i'm starting to see some flaws in this "camera projected" system.
While i can get the light & shadows to work properly i will have problems with the all important reflections, then there will be the slightly less than intuitive animation controls & when the car deforms so will his pupils (not what you want).
On top of that the aspect ratio of the camera projection seems to be less than reliable for some reason?! Flicking up & down occasionally.
I think i might have to take another approach..
When i first started on the pixarification of my car i started by dulling out the side windows of the car. I copied the glass, then shrunk the copy inside & gave it a dull grey material.
This gave me an idea. I made a copy of the windscreen & pushed it a little into the car. I constrained the eyes onto that surface then cut a hole in the original windscreen (with a boolean object). Throw on the eye white & the car metal materials & hey presto.
I need to do more tests to see how versatile the boolean & constraints will work for me but this might just work..
I still have to work on the controls, getting the boole objects edges to reflect properly, stop the wheels clipping, deformers warping things wrongly & even hypernurbs that are trying to melt the side window.
Then more nulls & a shed load of xpresso & constraint priorities.. So my work is cut out, but i'm liking where its headed..
I think i'm going to have to use a creative licence on the bumper & open up the middle section, getting rid of the licence plate. As this makes his mouth look pinned closed.
Even when the wheels are locked in car (instead of hand) mode. When the body rotates the top of the wheels should point toward where it did before. I got that working but it made lots of collisions with all the wheels, so i've been busy with xpresso trying to correct the motion.
So lots of xpresso & rigging & getting deformers to only effect the proper parts..
While my logic on the set up was sound i have to admit taking a peek inside Kiteman's car (bundled with c4d a few years ago), was inspirational. He is a master at rigging..
Though i would like to get the eyes sunken into the windscreen, i haven't managed to get it working yet. In fact i'm having trouble sorting out all the xpresso / constraint priorities as is is!
I think i've got the boole for the eye lids working better now.