Character rigs, comic books, and fan art

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Character rigging is the process of adding joints, musculature and other anatomy to a character model, and facilitating the control of these through handles or controllers for the animator. In short, think of making a puppet in a 3D software. The process involves not just sculpting a model for the character, but also making it ‘animatable’ for the animator to be able to use it to create poses. Without this ‘animatability’ the model is a simple, dead, expressionless sculpture. This complex process of rigging comprises of, but isn’t limited to understanding the anatomy of the character in question, knowing the workflow of the animator, and applying this information within the realms of the software to create a character rig.

Animation by Nick Whitmire:

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And hence, transpires the world of forward and inverse kinematics, deformation and transformation and other such techno-babble, mumbo-jumbo. Surely, some of us understand this pretty well. But for a normal, every-day animator, this could be pretty intimidating, and it is! And that’s exactly why we have character riggers, or setup artists, whose sole purposes (at least professionally) are to make the animator’s life easy. Ashwin Inamdar is one such setup artist. He is a professor in the department of animation at the Savannah College of Art and Design (Atlanta). He specializes in character setup, and teaches character rigging and other supporting courses such as modeling. But what’s more, he loves comic books, and is not afraid to call himself a ‘geek’ … even ‘nerd’ at times. Between his love for character rigging and sequential art, he has published an arsenal of character rigs that can be checked out at his website: http://www.iashwin.net/.  With a classic ‘animated series’ kind of a style, Ashwin recreates our favorite Marvel and DC superheroes as Maya character rigs.
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“Superhero stories are more than just tales to read or watch,” he says. “They have larger, philosophical implications, if you care to look into them. These are stories we should be discussing explicitly. Put these characters in the hands of the animators – some of the world’s most expressive creatures – and watch the sparks fly!” Ashwin’s rigs are some of the highest rated assets on digital asset sharing websites like Turbosquid.com, CreativeCrash.com and StockCG.com. We totally recommend it!

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Trompe L'oiel

Living in Atlanta, hailing from Florida. Graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design with my BFA in Animation. I specialize in Motion, Performance and facial capture for film and games. I am a writer, musician and jester at heart. Animator by day and circus freak by night, my hobbies include contact juggling and Playing the 8 string lyre harp. I simply wish to be part of production on movies that bring people joy and are thought provoking.