3D Animation Workshop: Lesson 63: Puppet Master Plus
Lesson 63 - Puppet Master Plus - Part 1
Let's finish up this series of lessons on character animation by exploring some of the possibilities available with Puppet Master.
In the previous lesson, we covered the basics of Puppet Master, and I stressed that this utility represents whole new direction in character animation. I've been working intensely with it lately. It's going to take many months (at least) to get a handle on it, because you have to develop a whole new approach to both modeling and animation setup. I'd like to share with you some things that I find especially promising, although admittedly difficult in execution.
The obvious argument for the Puppet Master is that, by eliminating bones, you work more directly with the model. With bones it's often necessary to use a wireframe view just to be able to see the bones inside the mesh. With Puppet Master there's nothing inside, so you can work with a shaded preview. This makes you feel as though you're doing stop motion animation with real physical modelsÂposing them as you go along. Puppet Master eliminates another problem of working with bones in that you don't have to worry about cross-influences or endure the hassle of assigning vertices to specific bones (in programs that have such powers). There's no possibility, for example, that feet will pull on each other because their bones have overlapping influences.
Another benefit of Puppet Master is in its ability to use morphs on individual sections to create automatic muscle bulges as the sections rotate, as we saw in the previous lesson. But, as important as they are, all these advantages are conveniences. The most enticing aspect of Puppet Master is its power to morph a model in the most general way. Humans and animals change shape as their bones rotate. This means more than just simple bulges in the biceps. Let's take the really tough caseÂthe human shoulder.
Bones are frustrating to use in the shoulder area. If you pose the model with the arms outstretched when the bones are laid out (as you often must do), the crease at the armpit looks terrible when the arm is dropped to the side. We've already spent a lesson trying to get this area to look decent with bones, and the result was merely OK. This area can never look right unless the mesh morphs into a new shape as the arm is raised or lowered. But this is just what Puppet Master can do.
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Created: Mar. 30, 1999
Revised: Mar. 30, 1999