Kiel Figgins  -  Character Animator

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Retro Style Animation
Playing around with how pixels in 3d could interact with a world. Not a lot of polish, but was fun to see the results where.

Breathe Rig
A fairly straight forward, 7 joint solution to give Animators a breathe option. Since most chest areas are bound to a single joint, these additional joints don't conflict with existing weighting. The idea is to be able to have a slight pixel shift, that comes in especially handy during dialog and sutle/idle animations. For the setup specs, the tz of the breathe control is piped into the ry of the joints with an adjustable multiplier. This allows for the base to rotate slightly less, while the front joints rotate slightly more in an attempt to replicate how actual ribs move when lungs expand.

Audio Shockwave
By animating a nurbs circle over the surface, the cubes triggered an animation and bounced accordingly. Used as a basis for a project that needed an environment to react to specific audio cues. If the same cube is triggered while its animation is playing, it has the option to trigger again based on height.

Dynamic Limb Slicing
Hand animating a limb being cut off and falling to the ground is very tedious, especially when variants are asked for. This was a quick idea about using nCloth elements to create proxy that could be quickly setup and variants created as it plays in real time. Phase 2 would be applying that motion back to the control rig, a fairly straightforward process since the proxy objects are created via script.
Dynamic Secondary Accessories
Animating secondary/reactionary elements on characters, such as flaps, straps, chains, but the worst offenders were loin cloths, capes and skirt/dresses. No matter how you do your fk chain, the end result feels forced. Outside of being a pain to animate, this secondary process takes time away from finesing the performance. I've been slowly developing a system to offload those types of motion. The system uses Maya's nCloth as a base, and then uses the motion generated to transfer back to the control rig. This allows for finese of the secondary (such as penetration) and no caching. The characters animation is not final (nor will it be), since the purpose is a test scene of fast action as proof of concept. There are 3 driven accessories: Cape, chest chain, loin cloth. About 5 mins to solve for the scene for all the accessories.

Dragon Neck Overlap
For thicker necks, or FK chains in general, I've found that adding secondary twist adds so many more keys to the motion and if the performance changes, all that motion is lost. So this was an idea about adding another layer atop my FK chain. It's been a staple of my setups ever since, works really well. For a more detailed explaination click here.

Ground Distortion
Interactive ground distortion that an Animator can manipulate in real time. From an idea I had for my Tron Homage piece where the ground pixelated on impacts than settled back to its normal state. Though it wasn't implimented, I still thought the visual was fun.

Animation Driven Deformations
High bend areas like the wrist, shoulder, ankle and hip collapse more noticably on a specific axis. I created a setup that is driven by the animation rig in realtime that provides an additional joint that can be bound to. This joint is driven by an IK bend against the heaviest angle to help maintain volume. In the case the animator wants more control, the joint has a manual control you can further correct the volume with.
Hand Animated Lightning
A number of projects (Orb,Judas,InFamouse),have come up that would be enhanced by a user friendly way to animate lightning/elec arcs. So with that in mind, I kicked out an automated setup to allow control over the arc of the path, chaos, intensity, while still allowing individual controls to shape the arc entirely by hand if needed. The arc's ends can be constrained to scene elements to allow tracking or kept global to allow the arc to race along a surface. The output is a single nurbs curves, which can then be layered atop with paint effects, extrudes, or locators for post effect work. The above animation (lightning only) took about 40 mins to key. The First character on my list to get this setup is my Orb. For his welding laser, but also when he disables his enemies or control consoles.

Stretchy Spine
Been experimenting lately with other options for Spine Rigging. Based off this setup. I've added in new bits like a truly independant hip and shoulder, sub back controls and the ability to fade on/off the squash and stretch independantly. I've also automated the setup so that should get it into production soon. The known limitiations though like not being able to get non smooth curves (for impacts and laying down) as well as sharp motions may cause a problem.

Multiple Character Fight Layout
This is a very rough anim idea that was a mixture of previz / blocking. It was pitch for the Playstation Battle All Stars, where each platform was a different screen. So the character fight and bounce around the environment. There's a lot of fun ideas I liked in this thats a bummer they won't be finaled. PaRappa The Rappa slamming the jukebox down, Fat Princess cooking a turkey leg on Sweet Tooth's head, then throwing a cake in his face, Killzone's combat roll into super knife slash. Good times even in it's rough state.

3 Point Corrective Blend Shape
Screen Left is straight bind, screen right is the corrected solution with 3 corrective shapes used. Corrective shapes made very quickly for test purposes, not accuracy. Sphere colors correspond to amount of influence of each shape (more for visual representation). It's a realtime solution, able to turn off to speed up anim playback no expressions, additional plugins, automated (except for sculpting the shape) Able to adjust the falloff (how soon the influence kicks in/off) in animation.

VFX Trail
The basis for recreating the trailing light effect from Tron. It's a post effect, but in the end worked out nicely.

Wheel Rotation
Calculating wheel rotation is a tedious facet of animation, especially for car commercials. It reached a point where a fairly robust automation was needed. So I wrote this tutorial on how to calculate it, along with the script to do it for you.

2d Animation
2d Animations created on my ride to and from work.