Here is a project that I created for a friend who produces a half-hour puppet show for cable. I am still not sure if he will use it, but so far he seems interested. Many thanks to those modellers who posted their free objects at sites like www.3dcafe.com and http://3dmodelworld.com and kudoes to the people at www.textureworld.com who sold me their dogbear surface through www.turbosquid.com ; wonderful objects make the work go a lot more smoothly.
The "Galleon" included free with INSPIRE needed some minor tweaking, like a new set of ropes, props like a steering wheel and bell, and some sails fixes, but it had a lot going for it from the start. The captain's hat was made from the INSPIRE baseball cap. Did I make anything? Oh yes: barrel, candle, open book, page morphs, steering wheel, bell, parrot, eyes, mouths, ropes, and skydome.
Accordion-playing was accomplished using morphing of the fins and accordion together as one object, keeping the shoulder joints in place, and scaling the bellows of the accordion to fit the fin positions, then smoothing the result for a better shape. The accordion also had bones added for some sagging and arching of the bellows. The whale's mouths were morph targets; the teeth were made from scratch. Book pages were also morphed using multiple targets.
The waves and sails were displacement mapped with the fractal procedural texture. Bump mapping the planks of the barrel worked out better than I expected -- a blurry black line repeated using cylindrical mapping..
This was the first time I played with having multiple objects using the same set of bones by copying the bones animation Scene to different objects, like the eyes of the moose, using "Replace Object" and "Load from Scene." Emotionally, one has to convince oneself that it's no big deal that the animation will be done in another Scene and then parented to a similar object.
The accordion-playing whale was modelled-over "from scratch," but the mouth area was still a difficult morph. Morphing the pages, by comparison, animated fairly quickly, once I realized the only solution was to use bones if the text was going to stay in place when the pages turned.
The parrot does not use bones very effectively, since a parrot can turn its head 180 degrees around, but the flapping was good and when I began this project, the main priority was trying to get it to the producer in short order. Since morph targets could be pretty simple, it may yet become that fully articulated.
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