If you haven’t seen any of FABLEfx’s impressive, photoreal CG animals, prepare to be dazzled. Impressed by the many commercials we’ve seen popping up starring the Swedish VFX studio’s 3D creatures, we asked FABLEfx to pull together their best tips and tricks for realistic rigging.
1 – Consult your references (because references are everything)
To create realistic creatures, you need to have an in-depth understanding of the weight, balance and movements of the creature. Mistakes here can undermine your entire design, so pay close attention to those three features.
2 – Take an anatomy lesson
If you’re modeling a creature that exists in real-life, your audience will have an awareness of what that animal should look like. That means you need to be especially careful in your work, and one way to really nail the accuracy is to carefully examine your animal’s anatomy. Correct muscle and bone placement is crucial to creating anatomically realistic movements.
3 – Iterate, iterate, iterate
First, do the basic rig and hand it over to an animator as soon as possible. The animator will then check your creature by putting it through various poses and animations, and provide you with feedback based on that. This process helps us understand character complexity, and based on that we will refine our rigs. Remember that you’re providing the animators with one of their most important tools, so make sure you have a solid communication with them. Discussing rig and animation development with notes and annotations in Shotgun is a great way to keep pushing forward and perfect your work.