Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Setup Machine

Ahhh, bliss.

I'll tell ya what. Over the years I've learned a lot about rigging. I've rigged a ton of characters. I fancy myself a half way decent rigger when I need to be. It's been a necessary evil in my professional path. It's a knowledge that has served me well and I think it's good for animators to know how to do it. But to be honest, I only did it to get better animation controls for my own characters. I don't really like rigging. There's a certain tinkering aspect of finding a new solution in rigging that can be fun- like solving a tricky puzzle. But the actual work of rigging a whole character, including painting weights and all that rubbish- ugh! I find myself having less and less patience for the black art as the years roll by. So imagine my joy when I saw what Raf Anzovin was cooking up with his new The Setup Machine for Maya. I've had a chance to play with the beta version a bit and let me tell you, this is the thing to get if you have rigging to do. So many folks write me and ask about how to rig, or where they can get little known free rigs to animate with. Well now you can model your own character design (or better yet, get a modeler buddy to do it for you!) and The Setup Machine makes body rigging slickity splickity. AND- get this- it does a really spiffy job of auto weighting the skin to the joints. It's fully customizable, got great controls for animation, has a lot of mesh sculpting flexibility to shape the characters- Oh yeah. It's all good. And now it's been officially released. So head on over to Raf's site for all the details and to pick up your copy of TSM. It's the bee's knees. I'll never rig another character from scratch again. Joy!

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