Angry Rob MEL Scripted Facial Rig
A while ago I started a project with two coworkers in an effort to make a short animated film in my off time. Huge Fail. After about 2 weeks of trying to coordinate with the other guys, working nights in between larger projects, and playing project manager, developer, and modeler at the same time, I quickly discovered that “off time” when you have a family and work at an agency isn’t really as bountiful as it was in my youth.
While we didn’t get very far into the actual production, One good thing that came out of it was a chance to work on a little bit of rigging and MEL scripting, something that I don’t really get to do as much as I’d like in my day job.
As I started the facial rig, and poked around on a lot of other guys sites and examined their rigs, I had to almost pull myself back from going insane and trying to build something way to complicated. The temptation to build crazy flash extensions to drive the GUI, or screw around with sockets to make things all crazy fancy was pretty strong, but in the end I admit I settled on something that was a lot more straight forward and pretty simple.
Because the 3D head I originally modeled wasn’t exactly normal, and was basically a giant toe with hair and beady eyes, I had to build some special cases into the rig. The eyes didn’t so much as rotate in their sockets as they did slide around the side of the skull, and the blinking was a little bit of a stylized fold instead of a true eyelid blink.
If you’re curious about the details, I broke down some of the functionality in the video’s included in this post. You can kinda see how the simple GUI worked, how the different elements drive the overall facial features, and how the final set up let you save key frames and configure your own expressions to easily animate angry Rob into happy Rob or constipated Rob or whatever your Rob feels at any given time.
At some point, I’m hoping to pick this particular project back up and maybe play around with the body rig and a see if I can get a few scenes set up, but until then I’m at least happy with the setup I have here, and if I ever need to make a giant, toe headed, angry, cartoon rig again, I can probably whip one out fairly quick.