2021-04-01 Animation & Rigging Module Meeting

The main goal of this meeting was a status update on & discussion of ongoing work.

The meeting was open for everybody interested to join on Google Meet (link below).

Present: Bassam Kurdali, Christoph Lendenfeld, Daniel Salazar, Demeter Dzadik, Jason Schleifer, Scott Wilson, Sybren Stüvel.


Since the Last Meeting / Announcements

Short-term goals

Pose Breakdowner design

  • Bassam: unclear what would be a valid design, but the “no visual mess” is
    something we can work towards. How about fading out armature controls (either
    completely or partially) when sliding poses?
  • Jason: for all armatures? or only active? Sybren: whichever we want.
  • Sybren: Ton wants “boneless animation” in the future, so hiding the bone
    controls while sliding should be in line with that.
  • All present agree with this approach.
  • Bassam: bone selection is blocked while the breakdowner is in use (contrary to
    say extrusion), and that is also more obvious when fading the bones.
  • Christoph: unconditionally and completely hiding all the bones is not a good
    idea, as sometimes you want to align a certain control with something.
  • Bassam: make it toggleable. Usually you’re looking at the pose more than the
    controls, so hiding could still be a nice default.
  • Bassam: Fixed position of the slider is better than positioning it where the mouse happens to be.
  • Christoph: maybe put it in the status bar? Might be difficult because that’s drawn as a string.
  • Scott: maybe just put it in the bottom 3rd of the screen? Jason and Bassam agree.

Ideas for better rigging tools

Jason introduces himself to the rest of the module. He worked for over a decade
at Dreamworks Animation, 7 years of which as Head of Character Animation;
co-founded Nimble Collective, which was bought up by Amazon AWS where he now is
Creative Director; and was driving force behind AWS becoming patron of the
Development Fund. He is interested in getting rigging and animation better and

  • Bassam and Daniel suggest Bone Glow.

  • Jason: think beyond vertex points & weight painting, get more procedural.

  • Bassam: Offset Curve Deform is an interesting idea too. Keeps bones as network
    of bezier curves, somehow keeps offset to mesh, and provides control over the
    bendyness at joints. No weight painting required, purely procedural.

  • Jason: https://research.dreamworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/resculptors-Edited.pdf

  • Jason: I can ask Raf Anzovin to join
    a future discussion about this. He received an Epic grant to work on
    ephemeral rigging, pose-based stuff. Bassam also knows him personally.
    Sybren confirms it’s a good idea to ask him.

  • Scott: talks about a way to have more swappable rigs, so rather than an
    uber-rig that’s good for everything, have a way to swap in a simple rig that
    is just enough for the requirements of the shot it needs to be used in.

  • Scott: ephemeral rigs are nice for characters, but how does it work for vehicles and other mechanical rigs?

  • Jason: yes, important to make it work for props as well.

  • Bassam: now we’re on the topic, an area of work/thinking about things. He’s
    been working together with people on a startup who worked on this as well in
    an iOS app https://www.octi.tv/:

    • Using neural net to take video, and recognise a person including where joints are.
    • Topology system that also generates UV map, rig, weight paint, etc.
    • Mostly as a way to remove repetition, and thus promote more creativity
      (and the ability to spend your energy to focus on not-yet-solved
  • Reminds Jason of RigNet. He emphasises
    that it’s important that what the computer generates is easy to control, to
    make it usable for animators who want to have detailed control over the final animation.

  • Bassam: better to have a guided approach rather than a completely self-contained black box.

  • Scott: talks about Cascadeur, to have a physics-based system.

  • Jason: great for further-from-camera animation, or as a starting point.

Weight Painting in Edit Mode

  • Daniel: who uses the weight editing in edit mode (pick a vertex, tweak its
    weights)? This doesn’t support X-mirror, can we fix that?

  • Bassam: is bug-like at first glance, but a bit more complicated because it
    would need to consider armature symmetry mode in mesh editing mode. Is a
    nice enhancement, though.

  • Jason: the proceess for weight painting and wiggling bones to see the effect
    is really bothersome, as it requires lots of mode switching.

  • Scott: you can have the armature in pose mode and the mesh in weight painting mode.

  • Bassam: edit menu, turn off Lock Object Mode, then you can select armature, go
    to pose mode, shift-select the mesh, go to weight paint mode.

  • Sybren: I’m not sure this allows bone wiggling. Bassam: yes, that’s possible.

  • Bassam: this could be a good option to disable in a rigging-dedicated workspace.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on Thursday 15 April, 17:00 CET/Amsterdam time. Again it will be open for everybody who’s interested. The provisionary meeting agenda will be linked in the #animation-module channel before the meeting.


T57003: Copy visual pose and paste over frame range

  • On hold due to Sybren’s work on the Asset Browser / Pose Library. Maybe replace with the pose slider improvements (T81836 and D9054)?

– what do we mean by “maybe repkace copy paste visual pose with slider improvements” they are wildly different features for me can you expand on this idea? maybe i’m just not seeing it

I mean move T57003 off of the “Short Term” list to the regular Design list, and move T81836 onto the “Short Term” list in its place.