Skinning with nCloth

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Advanced Skinning with Andy van Straten

Andrew van Straten is a Creature TD with big league film credits such as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Adventures of Tintin. While working at Weta Digital he was responsible for research and development for the Creatures department, specifically in regard to physical based solutions to facial expressions. In his tutorial, Skinning with nCLoth, he covers how to build and solve nCloth muscles, fascia and skin. He also delivers ideas on how it might fit into a production pipeline. This tutorial, is best suited for someone who has experience with rigging in Maya or nCloth.

I created this tutorial because I think riggers are waking up to the vast potential of a solution for muscle and skin that is based on a physically based solver. I hope riggers will get another string to their bow as it were, and are able to apply the concepts in their own setups.

Andrew van Straten

Check out the amazing results here!

I do plan to make more tutorials, including a follow up to this one where I’ll build the shoulder as its a fairly complex part of the anatomy. I’d also like to do one on how to manage realistic combination shapes for facial animation.

Andrew van Straten

Creating this tutorial was important to Andrew because, “Riggers are waking up to the vast potential of solution(s) for muscle and skin that is based on a physical based solver.” Hopefully adding another “string to their bow” Andrew is wanting riggers to be able to apply the concepts in their own setups. Indepthly he adds, “Weta Digital use a proprietary physically based solver to generate solutions for organic tissue. This tutorial won’t replicate what happens in the creatures department, but it does employ some of the same thinking with the outcomes, i.e. using a solver to do the ‘heavy lifting’ as it were to generate complex shapes.” Looking forward Andrew plans to produce additional tutorials with subjects such as building the shoulder and managing realistic combination shapes for facial animation. For more on Andrew go to his LinkedIn Profile.

Interview with Leo Gonzalez

Technical Artist and Generalist

Can you introduce yourself and talk to us about your career so far?
My name is Leo Gonzalez, I was born in Colombia and raised in Miami. Officially I guess you could say I’m an environment artist or FX artist, but I don’t really see myself as either; I consider myself more of a technical artist or generalist. I’ve worked on character animation, rigging, photo real lighting and rendering, and a bunch of other stuff over the years. This was before I worked in the games industry. Being a CG artist in South Florida, most of my work revolved around visualizations for advertising, defense contractors, and commercial clients. There really isn’t much of a games industry in Miami; at least when I lived there. Hopefully that’s something that changes in the future, we’ll have to wait and see. I first got into 3D art when I started modding games back around 2003, but at the time I only did this for fun; it was just a hobby- the thought never even crossed my mind to do this as a career. For those who might not be familiar with modding, that’s when you take a commercial PC game and modify it by creating your own content, like maps, weapons, characters, etc. Around that time I was actually going to community college, majoring in criminal justice- yeah, that’s right, you heard correctly (chuckle).

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