An humanoid robot + rigging

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HiernauxNicolas polycounter lvl 4

Hi everyone,

I start this thread because I just started a new project of robot.

I'm a junior artist, and I already reproduced a lot of manmade objects ( train, cars, props, and so on) but I don't often create a concept before the realisation. So, this time I wanted to create something most imaginative, and I choose a bot.

I began to look a lot of images of robot on the Web and I found a tiny part of them very interesting and a lot of pictures a little bit 'poor'. At this time, I didn't exactly know why...
It's looked like some 'toys' or something like that ...

After that, I searched pictures of prosthesis. It was very interesting.
Some people have just an ugly "stick" prosthesis.
Some other people customise their "stick" prosthesis to something looks like their personality. They seem generally more proud of their body.
A third category presents some beautiful prosthesis with very interesting designs.
Finally, the lecon for me was that the most appreciated prosthesis is generally the most 'human'; the prosthesis must look like the person...

I just understood what is différent between toys bots and cyborg / prothesis :
- toys use generally simplified joints with cylinders like hinges. It's a little bit poor. And this design generally don't include empty zones; just what you need for something functional.
- The beautiful human prosthesis follow the human body curves and integrate more empty zone and joints are more subtle.

Therefore, I wanted to design something that uses the strong lines of the body, but with a good  balance between filled zones and empty zones, and then,joints more subtle than simple hinges.

For now, I know some joints are not totally functionnal, but I wanted focus my work on the  body plates design. I will adapt critic zones later. Maybe, a plate can slip on other to cover the plate underneath? I will see further in the process how to adapt each case. :)

What do you think about this ?
Do you have some critics or advices ?

Thank you for reading.


  • HiernauxNicolas
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    HiernauxNicolas polycounter lvl 4
    Hi everyone,

    Today a little bit more about the robot :)

    Firstly, I projected my concept on a lambda character. It's to help to get some volume on the plates. Now, it's more easy to start a retopo. It's exactly the same thing that create an armor. :)

    On each body plate I used triple edge technique with a blinn material for the checking of the specularity.
    On a symmetrical instance, I applied a custom chromium shader with a custom cubemap (made in my local skatepark^^) for checking simultaneous the reflections.

    This is my wireframe smoothed:

    At the moment, I 'm modeling a smoothable base mesh, because I don't know if I will use a pipeline with baking or not.
    For now, I just want to be creative. I will juge later if the polycount needs to be reduced.

    Finally, I tested the tessellation of my model in UE4. The result on reflection seams very clear and interesting. So it's an interesant alternative without baking...

    Thank you for reading

    Critics and advices are welcome!
  • HiernauxNicolas
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    HiernauxNicolas polycounter lvl 4
    Wip of today rendered in the UE4 viewport : 

  • HiernauxNicolas
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    HiernauxNicolas polycounter lvl 4
     Hi everyone,

    I just finished a test with some moves of the leg.
    The purpose was to find interpenetrations between the body plates and fix the position of piston pivots. When I made the concept, I was quite logical, but some times, this can appear :

    As you can see, a quick test was necessary...

    For piston problems, I tried several position of bones after skinning for each extremity. Until I found the most suitable position.
    For plate problems, I generally displaced vertices for changing a little bit the shape of the plate. In most case, It worked fine. But for the coma plate on the hip, I used an extra bone. The purpose was to create a plate that can slide on the others.

     After that, all plates are adapted and pistons fixed:

    A short video here :

    Now I'm sure all is quite correct, it's time to model the fixing lugs of the pistons, finish the detailing of each skeletal pieces, and then fill with a lot of pipes and electric wires! :p

    About the rig:
    This is not the final rigging. In fact it's not really a rigging, it's more a bones hierarchy animated with rotational axis, and for pistons a bone in each extremity, and between them a "aim" constraint on each other.
    For the final model, i think i will use the Epic rig tool with additional bones for the pistons...

    Critics and advices are welcome! :)

    Thanks for reading
  • Bummer6
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    Bummer6 polycounter lvl 9
    Looks really nice! I'm not crazy about the design itself, but you seem to be able to make it work. Looking forward to seeing more of it.
  • Sir Apple
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    Sir Apple polycounter lvl 8
    I think the head would look better with a less human looking face. Right now it looks too much like the face was peeled off a human and glued onto a robot. Perhaps go with something more mechanical/robotic, or at least work to include those elements in the face.
  • HiernauxNicolas
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    HiernauxNicolas polycounter lvl 4
    Thank you Bummer6,

    About the design: I wanted to create something a little bit less common that what you can see everywhere, and, I'm quite satisfied about the general form for now. What do you dislike in this design exactly ?

    It left a lot of work to make all functional, but I will to continue further. So keep an eye on this thread. ;)

    SIR APPLE : 

    You are totally right about the face.

    To be honest I didn't yet exactly defined what my humanoid is supposed to be... 
    Explanation : when I started the concept, i wanted to design a cyborg but I'm more at ease with mechanical than anatomy. So, it became something more like a machine that don't need a real human head or a brain...
    In fact, this head is an autoportrait that I made several month ago, and i just did a copy/paste it on the machine...

    I will try a plastic or a metal material on the face in a first time and may be adapt with other details further ;)

    Finally, we don't see clearly on the concept, but the helmet must be transparent, and you would see a mega coil of copper underneath and some mechanical pieces to animate the face.  (like in animatronics) :p :p :p

    Thank you for suggestions ! :)
  • HiernauxNicolas
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    HiernauxNicolas polycounter lvl 4

    Hi there,

    I spent a little more time on my personal robot project this week-end. :)

    The picture shows you a screenshot of what I get for now in maya. ( viewport 2.0 with screen space AO). This is my subdivided base mesh, with a custom rig driven by Human Ik and a mocap animation applied on it.

    All is not yet very clean, but I'm satisfied with the general look. I think I need to improve the ankle system and smooth the skinning yet...

    The process is a little bit long and complex, because it's not a linear workflow. I must after each step of modelling try a rigging and a skinning to be sure all is fonctionnal, and then, i can continue to model a little bit ... In fact all is not really functionnal, but something like 80%; it isn't necessary to achieve a 100% realistic mechanism, but I would like to give a very realistic look, so i try to be the most accurate as possible.

    I hope you enjoyed !
    Critics and advices are welcome. ;)
  • boezombie
    Super interested in seeing where this ended up! 
  • HiernauxNicolas
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    HiernauxNicolas polycounter lvl 4
    Thank you for the encouragements boezombie ! :)

    The project is unfortunately not yet finished, I stopped it during almost one year because I started a full time job. But now, this job is ended, and this project figure high on my list of priorities ! :p

    Hope to post progress soon! 
  • HiernauxNicolas
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    HiernauxNicolas polycounter lvl 4
    Hi there,

    I noticed that I never shown how works the rigging.
    So, you can find the link of two videos underneath :

    1. The first one shows that you can use Human Ik from Maya with the invert kinematics. And the HIK will drive the custom rig with the extra parts. 

    2. The second one shows that you can applied motion capture file from 'Visor' pannel on HIK and then the HIK will drive the robot custom rig to allows a suitable work of the pistions and mechanism !

    I hope you enjoyed ;)
    I really hope to work more time on this project soon to progress more quickly ! :p

  • CybranM
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    CybranM polycounter lvl 5
    How long did it take to rig all of that? :smile:
    The design isnt my taste but the legs are impressive for sure.
  • HiernauxNicolas
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    HiernauxNicolas polycounter lvl 4
    CybranM said: How long did it take to rig all of that? :smile:
    The design isnt my taste but the legs are impressive for sure.

    It's difficult to know how long it took, because I skinned little by little when I progressed on the modeling. And I don't count the time spend because it's made on my free time.  :p

    But the rigging in itself is not long after you find suitable pivot point for each part. A piston is just compund of two bones, each one with an aim constraint looking at the other, and then, each bones are parented on the suitable bone of the leg. You can do it in one day for sure. HIK is already quite complete so I just used my custom skeletton as a child of HIK. ( some parts are a little bit more complicated, but basicly HIK do all difficult things with the invert kinematics and the controllers  :D )

    The long process was obviously to try and retry different shapes and pivot point until I found something functionnal. (And I continue that on the arms for now , but this time I use some LEGO Technics to help to create something physically possible)

    Thank you for your interest, and can I ask you why you don't like this design ? ( you are not the firt to say that, but I don't recieved any reason until now ) Maybe I can still improve some parts  ;)
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