Of Simple Car Rigging, Weight and Animation

In animation, timing and weight play very important roles. So, to me it was really important to have a certain degree of separation between the wheels and the body of the car when talking about controllers to animate. For this we ended up consulting with Fred Qiao, a friend who’s also in the MFA program and who is an insanely good rigger. He came up with a solution in 10 minutes, but with a catch: The wheels would move together as a whole. This would have worked 99% for our purposes. Fred tackled the 4 wheel independence, but we felt it was too much work and wasn’t worth it for him or for us, so we ended up taking the initial solution. Now, I’m stubborn, and like to try things myself, so I had this idea that maybe I could achieve that with joints and an IK handle. I tried that later on that day (which was Friday; today is Sunday.. so 2 days ago) and got it to work to a certain extent. But this certain extent, even though somewhat limited, did the job for the kind of simple animation we had in mind. 

Since the UFO’s influence is kind of progressive in the sense that it increases its impact on the objects as time goes on, the suspension would play a role in the believability of the animation. Hence our needs to have a rig that would do this trick. Here’s a quick video of the system being demonstrated. 

Clearly, you are supposed to animate to the camera, so here’s the whole thing applied to our second shot of the sequence seen through our camera. And evidently, the suspension thing adds to the animation. Check it out. 

And here’s how it looks from a sort of birds-eye view of what’s happening.  

Right now, we are testing having the UFO somewhat behind the car, so this is why it goes a little to the back lifting up, but it seems we might test having it totally on top of the car. We’ll see. Fred told me later on that there’s a super simple solution to solve this, way more elegant and less cumbersome than what we did, but I didn’t have the time to go over this. If you’d like to let me know how you would have solved it, leave me a comment on this post!

Alright, that’s all I have to say for now. Until next time.

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