With the UV maps done (I mistakenly called this "UV week, it's more like "Rig-and-Skin week") I've been working on the structure for Four. Coincidentally, which will be shown in another post, today's Maya workshop demonstrated using IK splines for tongues and for curves.
A big change form Four is the toes. I was given the suggestion of adding a sixth 'digit' that ran underneath the middle toe. This digit would act as a focal point for the foot's pirouette movements. This makes twisting the foot slightly easier than before.
I have installed the tongue on a spline with a series of bones connected to it. There is one slight technicality however in that I'll need some sort of control for these bones to give Four's tongue some flexibility. I also considered a bend deformer that will allow the tongue to curl.If certain parameters are tied to a control I can hopefully move the curler to specific points on the tongue.
This was an expectation as the tongue is arguably the most flexible muscle in the body.Fortunately Four's tongue isn't as bizarre as Colo Colo's which makes production a little easier.
I might leave the hands free of reverse joints, but I am considering an IK-FK switch to make any switching of functions as feet and grasping hands a feature to ease the animation process. I imagine I'll be skinning in a few days, if not next week if I can get a system for All in all progress is strong and Four's visualisation is working out quite nicely..
I am currently questioning how to approach the spine. Currently there is an IK handle installed that can be used to twist the bend in the spine in certain directions and keeps the structure rigid as the IK flexes and compresses to give that "arch" that will come whenever Four is sprinting.
The function of the spine will take some thought. Like with the neck it will be more realistic to spread out any twist or bend through the spine. But due to the location of the arms, I will either require a setup that only bends the spine, or I make clever use of the rotate coordinates when animating.
Regardless, the current ability to curl or straighten the spine as the legs move inward and outward seems quite useful.