Thursday, November 13, 2008

Character Modeling II

Picking up from the previous post, I've modeled a basic character using a billboard as a guide. See picture:

You can see the bone system residing inside of the character. For the hands I only needed the ability to move the thumb, index, and rest of fingers as a group so I used three bones.

Assigning the geometry to the bones:
In my tool I do this by selecting the desired bone. I select the geometry I want to assign to it and associate the selection tot he bone. In the following image you can see that I have part of the spine selected and I'm assigning verts to the torso.(GREEN=assigned, Yellow=assigned to another bone, BLUE= not assigned at all)

Note: In other tools, you'll be able to do this by some tool automatically, but since I haven't coded that, I alternated the model color to help in the assignment process.

After applying all the geometry to the bones, I created some test animations that ran the character through basic movments. Each joint was a different animation.

As I tested the animations, I would make adjustments to the bone assignments, applying multiple bones to influence the points. This is great in areas like the shoulders, hips, knees, and neck. You'll need to add additional geometry to improve the animations. My character jumped from 1100 polys to over 1500+ polys by the time I was done with this process.

Once the models movement looks acceptable with the test animations you're ready for texturing. (I made the mistake of texturing first and had to do it again later. Not too bad but could have saved time to wait.)

When you're finished texturing your character is ready for producing the real animations.

The picture above shows my gunslinger (Guns aren't textured yet) in his loiter pose. This guy was exported in .x format and loaded quite nicely into a demo app. Total polys (1530).

Note: I used my own editor to do this character. Let me know if you're interested in trying it out. I'm always looking for people who can give me some suggestions and feedback.

Thanks for reading and happy coding!



  1. Wow! That looks great! He looks more realistic every time you show him to me. Great job Jas!!!

  2. Anonymous11/22/2008

    Heh, right, great job!
    In wich format are you saving animation? Is your editor saving models to .x format? I'm still busy with my animation system...The SLD format isnt ready for that yet. Actually i'm loading hierarchy. I hope in a week i would be able to release a source to save and load animated and non animated sld files.
    Is your tool handling material edit yet? Is it working with multiple meshes, materials, and textures?
    Anyway, looks cool ;)

  3. Hi Stickman,
    Thanks for the feedback. I can save the animations as part of the .x file. Although I also support xml but not finished with that yet.

    I have a mapping tool that allows the user to view how the model is mapped to the texture AND provides basic art tools to create the texture itself. Think Paint with texture mapping and some of photoshop's features.

    I have a material selector that lets you view current materials and apply them to any model.

    The animation support works for multiple models. For example, the gunslinger's guns are on one layer and his hat is on another layer but they are all bound to the bones.

    Keep it up Stickman!