Sunday, March 16, 2014

Maya Muscle

Maya muscles can be made in a variety of ways, making it from scratch involves the use of capsules. Once you place the joints in the correct place you use 'convert surface to muscle/bone' in order to create the capsules. From here you can then create a NURBS object to be your muscle shape. An easier way to create muscles is through the muscle builder. With your geometry being rigged and bound, you can take the skin and convert to muscle. This creates the capsules for you and transfers the weights from the skin over to them, which can save a lot of time. With the muscle builder open you can attach your capsules, this will be where the muscle connects at. You are then able to adjust the size and placement of the muscle under the build and cross section tab.

With the muscle in the correct position you can then select it, along with the skin and use 'connect selected muscle objects', a box will pop up and you can just auto-calculate the sticky bind distance. The sticky bind distance is the area of points in which the muscle can affect. You can visualise the sticky bind distance and this will create a NURBS sphere. Everything outside of the sphere will not be effected, whilst everything within it will deform. From here you can then paint the weights on your selected muscle, using the stick bind distance as a guide.

Something that I think will come in useful, and that I will most likely be using for my dragon are the muscle skin deformers. Within this you can have a range of different deformers such as jiggle, cycle, rest and smooth. These deformers don't need to create capsules and all you need to do is paint the weights on the object or character.

Jiggle, as the name suggests creates jiggle/wobbles. It allows parts of the body to become more fluid and add that extra movement.

Cycle is how fast the areas take to move / jiggle

Rest is how long it takes for it to stop jiggling. If you want more wobble, paint in weights, with the influence being at 1.

The video below shows a quick test I created following a Digital Tutors tutorial: Introduction to Maya Muscle. The character rig was also provided by them. The settings will need adjusting under each deformer in order to create my desired effect, however it works quite well and produces a fairly decent result. It will add that extra deformation and animation to my model, something that I wouldn't normally be able to get without using these muscle deformers. As you can turn these deformers on and off, you could in theory key these so I could have the jiggle more pronounced in some areas and maybe not at all, depending on the situation/animation.

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