During this week, I setup the MotionBuilder-friendly skeleton for the tool, and skinned all the meshes to that joint hierarchy. However, since the joints had to re-position themselves to match the clothing choices and gender/age/proportions blendshapes, I exported all the skin weighting information as XML files so that the tool can pull them in after the character has been designed and is ready for export.
The other big task for this week was creating set driven keys on all the joints to actually conform to the aforementioned deformations, the result of which you can see here:
Finally, I began the creation of UI mockups to subject them to the end users' (artists and producers from the Focal Length team) judgement. By doing so, I can make sure that the tool is usable and easy to understand before I write the first line of code.
As stated in the schedule for this piece, over the week I finished the blend shapes (morph targets) for the body variations that were specified for the tool, modeled the clothing pieces selected from those that the Focal Length team concepted up to this point and generated morph targets for those models. The fastest way to demonstrate the progress is through the following video:
I also created UV maps for all the models shown above and set up the material network that will allow all of the pieces to share the same UV space so that the final result of the tool is a single flattened map. In order for me to set up this material, I created masks so that a single skin texture lies beneath the layered textures containing all the clothing information, so as to reduce the amount of work required from the Focal Length's texture artists that are working with me (Christina Equels and Monica Alvarez) to create this tool.
This is a final sample of what a textured civilian could look like. Textures by Monica Alvarez and Christina Equels, and it should be noted that they are still work in progress.
As part of the development for Focal Length, I am in the process of creating a tool that will allow the team to generate unique civilians that will populate the environment. This blog will document my week to week progress.
According to production specifications, around twenty civilians could potentially appear at the same time on the screen, so the tool needs to be able to generate at least that many significantly different characters. To keep the amount of work in scope, it was decided that the following parameters will be controllable by the user:
With the addition of variation on the textures for skin, eyes, hair and clothes, the tool could potentially generate hundreds of different civilians. A big focus of the tool will be to produce a friendly UI and creation process to achieve a good UX design, since the tool will be used by artists and producers alike
Similar tools already exist, such as Mixamo Fuse, MakeHuman, the Mii creator on the Wii, the Avatar creator on the XBox, etc.