Backstage with Tyrande (pt.4)

So we’ve got our mesh done, our biped skeleton in place and it’s all just connecting them and pose away, eh?

..Or maybe not. While it generally seems logical to us what should be influenced by what bone, it’s not quite as apparent to 3D studio. So instead we have to adjust the envelopes – the areas of influence – around each bone so it influences what it needs to. This is especially a case with elements such as a skirt that doesn’t really follow legs strictly at all or the Night elven ears which reach rather far beyond the head itself.

Additionally, in some places – fingers especially – bones can sometimes overlap, with cases where moving one finger will deform the finger or fingers next to it. While we sometimes do want areas to overlap so things can influence oneanother and bend smoothly between two bones, finger bones are only supposed to move their respective finger!

Finally there’s all the other remaining tweaking left, seeing so joints can bend and twist properly enough, so that the mesh can do atleast enough if not all of the various poses we want and soforth. I find that the shoulder and pelvic joints are particularely bothersome for this since of how much there is to influence oneanother and how many motions are possible. This is where overlapping envelopes can help a great deal so for example lower and upper arm can cooperate on how to deform the elbow and soforth.

Now for the record, a skirt is never going to be working all that great unless you make it into a cloth simulation – even in World of Warcraft itself there’s several animations and poses where a skirt just looks absurd because it tries to act like a pair of pants rather than a skirt. Still, we can aproximate it as much as possible and simply keep in mind that we’ll have to limit the leg movement to avoid things looking utterly broken. But, well, atleast to some degree our problem is solved.


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