Puppet Rigs like "Mercury Filmworks' ???

32 replies [Last post]
Visualbug's picture
Visualbug
Visualbug

Posted 4 years ago on 07/12/2015 at 21h25

Visualbug

Posted 4 years ago on 07/12/2015 at 21h25

Hi Toon Boom users!!

I just watching all Mercury Filmworks shows, their rigs are incredible! complex! smooth animations!!
star vs. the Forces of Evil, mickey mouse shorts, The Lion Guard, Wander Over Yonder (my favorite)

sometimes is hard to believe that is puppet animation!

How they rig? tips? techniques? books? tutorials??

where we can learn to create complex rigs studio ready quality ???

I am creating my web series, and I want to learn before getting to the rigging phase

thanks!

o0Ampy0o's picture
o0Ampy0o
o0Ampy0o

Posted 4 years ago on 08/12/2015 at 02h03

o0Ampy0o

Posted 4 years ago on 08/12/2015 at 02h03

Having only heard about them after reading your post I don't know anything about their process but everything I saw in the Wander Over Yonder clips I watched just now seemed like something attainable using Harmony. So just read and watch everything you can find on Harmony. If you like the visual and animation style of Wander Over Yonder draw and activate your characters like Wander Over Yonder.

I thought everything was well done too......almost perfect but I think Hater warrants a cartoon voice that does not sound like Any-dude-talking-like-a-monster.

Visualbug's picture
Visualbug
Visualbug

Posted 4 years ago on 08/12/2015 at 02h23

Visualbug

Posted 4 years ago on 08/12/2015 at 02h23

Hi o0Ampy0o, yes, I love to investigate who uses Harmony and how they do it.....

Mercury Filmworks IS a Toon Boom Harmony Studio Wink

I think they are the best cut out animation studio. They produce the best quality and all high profile productions.........

Second best is boulder media......

Wink

but we still have "basics" tutorials.....................

Can we have an advanced rigging tutorial with toon boom Harmony ???? Wink can be nice..................

o0Ampy0o's picture
o0Ampy0o
o0Ampy0o

Posted 4 years ago on 08/12/2015 at 15h17

o0Ampy0o

Posted 4 years ago on 08/12/2015 at 15h17

...but we still have "basics" tutorials.....................

Can we have an advanced rigging tutorial with toon boom Harmony ???? Wink can be nice..................

Over at Digital Tutors (now Pluralsight) they have an advanced rigging tutorial. I am just another Harmony user wanting to know everything about the software BTW. If you have the funds to invest I believe it is well worth subscribing for at least one month. You can always do it on and off if your time is limited. Everything there on Harmony is worth viewing, at least if you are at the beginning level. The advanced rigging information is taught by an experienced animator and is idiosyncratic. I am not sold on his entire process (i.e using the Underlay and Overlay unconventionally) but I am keeping my mind open as it may make sense to adopt some techniques as I become more familiar with the animating process.

Visualbug's picture
Visualbug
Visualbug

Posted 4 years ago on 09/12/2015 at 01h10

Visualbug

Posted 4 years ago on 09/12/2015 at 01h10

the best tutorials of harmony are in digital tutors (pluralsight creative) as far as I know

yep, I am subscribed to DT Wink

adamoliver's picture
adamoliver
adamoliver

Posted 4 years ago on 08/12/2015 at 12h52

adamoliver

Posted 4 years ago on 08/12/2015 at 12h52

Hey!

As someone who is a rigger and animator on a Harmony-made TV show (and having seen that Wander rig up close in the software) I can tell you that it's not quite as complex as you think. Harmony can get quite slow if you use all the bells and whistles, so it's more of an art to balance the use of modules, like cutters, colour overrides and of course deformers. I'd normally recommend designing a simple character that communicates well and can hit nice clean poses, then get working on some great drawing substitutions coupled with deformers on the limbs and body. The head can be rigged several ways depending on your needs. Wander's face can slide about as it's simple enough. Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates is one of the best rigs I've seen for facial set up, but it's complicated to use (although it does achieve a fantastic 3D effect).

The benefit of these more complex set ups is that once you've put some work in at the beginning, you build a nice pose library which you can start copying and pasting in as a base for more poses.

On a different note, I'm going to do my best to answer these kinds of more specific, advanced questions as the knowledge base for Harmony is still lacking at the higher end. I was there and feel your frustration! It's a great bit of kit so happy to get more people up to speed with it.

Hope that helps!

Adam

o0Ampy0o's picture
o0Ampy0o
o0Ampy0o

Posted 4 years ago on 08/12/2015 at 15h08

o0Ampy0o

Posted 4 years ago on 08/12/2015 at 15h08

Hey!

As someone who is a rigger and animator on a Harmony-made TV show .......Hope that helps!

Adam

THANK YOU for caring and sharing!

Visualbug's picture
Visualbug
Visualbug

Posted 4 years ago on 09/12/2015 at 01h16

Visualbug

Posted 4 years ago on 09/12/2015 at 01h16

Hey adamoliver!

thanks! well, Jake and the Neverland Pirates have very very good rigs, the face turn around and body parts are so well connected that you need to focus to see the breaking points of the puppets, for me, the best are star vs. the Forces of Evil, sometimes, I ask myself if is a hybrid between cut out and traditional in harmony,

my main concern is to setup a character ready to animate, turnarounds, good facial rigs, and so on, harmony tutorials are lacking Wink

thanks for taking time to pass by, sometimes I got tired of following basics tutorials.............and there is not "next step" in learning harmony!

hope we can see more tips on how to setup characters, thanks, !
Wink

Marie-EveChartrand's picture
Marie-EveChartrand
Marie-EveChartrand Toon Boom TEAM

Posted 4 years ago on 08/12/2015 at 13h15

Marie-EveChartrand

Posted 4 years ago on 08/12/2015 at 13h15

Hi themonster!

Mercury is indeed a really awesome animation studio and they always push the Harmony boundaries!!
They are also quite private on their process, which is quite understandable. Smile

We are currently building 180 rigs that we will make available to our users very shortly.

We also just launched a series of instructor-led online courses. We are now starting with Rigging 1 and Cut-out Animation 1, but Rigging 2 and 3 will follow up.
We will be teaching all kinds of rigging types, including the very advanced ones. Rigging 1 is the foundations.

See more info here: https://www.toonboom.com/training/online-courses

Marie-Eve

Visualbug's picture
Visualbug
Visualbug

Posted 4 years ago on 09/12/2015 at 01h21

Visualbug

Posted 4 years ago on 09/12/2015 at 01h21

Hi Marie,

well, I just mentioned Mercury as an example of professional rigs in harmony,
there are no tutorials yet, no info, and we want to learn how to setup
nice rigs and create animations Wink

nice idea about rigging 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and more I hope !!

We will watch the recordings of the courses after?
I am working usually

thanks,

adamoliver's picture
adamoliver
adamoliver

Posted 4 years ago on 09/12/2015 at 04h06

adamoliver

Posted 4 years ago on 09/12/2015 at 04h06

Good to hear there's more advanced classes on there way! And rig samples will be very useful. 180 sounds a lot..!

As for studios keeping their rigs private, I totally understand this, although think there's several options when rigging a production character which most people aren't aware of, especially when making a decision on the software. The Jake example blew me away and I'd love to see a tutorial on things like this, obviously not using Mercury's rig but just the methods for a 3D slider cutter facial rig (or whatever you'd call it!)

These kind of tutorials will only help increase the knowledge base and up take of the software, rather than people sticking to what they know.

Marie-EveChartrand's picture
Marie-EveChartrand
Marie-EveChartrand Toon Boom TEAM

Posted 4 years ago on 09/12/2015 at 09h42

Marie-EveChartrand

Posted 4 years ago on 09/12/2015 at 09h42

Thank you for your feedback Adam!

We are on it! Laughing out loud

stberntz's picture
stberntz
stberntz

Posted 4 years ago on 14/12/2015 at 12h50

stberntz

Posted 4 years ago on 14/12/2015 at 12h50

I'd very much like to attend these courses, but 1600$ is far beyond what I can pay for a course, unfortunately.

mbesner's picture
mbesner
mbesner - Blocked

Posted 4 years ago on 14/12/2015 at 14h37

mbesner - Blocked

Post removed

stberntz's picture
stberntz
stberntz

Posted 4 years ago on 17/12/2015 at 06h35

stberntz

Posted 4 years ago on 17/12/2015 at 06h35

I am an hobbyist, 66 years old, and I am not going to make a job as an animator. Still I love animating, and I am very enthusiastic about deformations, especially envelope deformation and how it can be used to sort of bridge the gap between handdrawn and cutout animation. Right now there is not much help when you cannot afford training to 1600$. Please do not misunderstand - I am not saying the price isn't right, only it is not for someone who is not going to make a job as an animator. Smile I must praise the tutorials in the past from Lilly Vogelesong - they were the means to learn ToonBoom software: Thourough, detailed and really dedicated - and the best of all - they were free!

Visualbug's picture
Visualbug
Visualbug

Posted 4 years ago on 14/12/2015 at 23h14

Visualbug

Posted 4 years ago on 14/12/2015 at 23h14

you can get digital tutors membership! and wait for the advance training Wink

stberntz's picture
stberntz
stberntz

Posted 4 years ago on 17/12/2015 at 06h20

stberntz

Posted 4 years ago on 17/12/2015 at 06h20

I have a Digital Tutors membership, but I don't think their courses on Harmony are great. Stephen Sloans use of art layers is interesting though. The free tutorials and webinars from ToonBoom are only scratching the surface of deformation rigging. Still I am picking up useful points here and there. I am really looking forward to the 180 rigs Marie-Eve is writing about. I would like to see how the guy they used to introduce Harmony 12 Premium is rigged.

o0Ampy0o's picture
o0Ampy0o
o0Ampy0o

Posted 4 years ago on 17/12/2015 at 07h57

o0Ampy0o

Posted 4 years ago on 17/12/2015 at 07h57

Are the 180 rigs going to be free or at least affordable to hobbyists?

IMO the Digital Tutors courses are well-done. I would not describe them as not being great but most cover basic introductions to concepts or features and do not delve into professional level application of principles.

Lilly Vogelsang's videos were informative. Many were based off questions from users here in this forum rendering them very relevant. Frequently this served to strengthen weaknesses in the software documentation. This was also a steady contribution of practical knowledge available to all users.

I think both satisfy their objectives.

Marie-EveChartrand's picture
Marie-EveChartrand
Marie-EveChartrand Toon Boom TEAM

Posted 4 years ago on 18/12/2015 at 18h59

Marie-EveChartrand

Posted 4 years ago on 18/12/2015 at 18h59

Thank you very much everyone for your feedback. It is most useful!

When the sample projects for the 180s will be completed, they will be available for free. Smile

Continue sending us your feedback. We always really appreciate it.

Happy Holidays season to you guys!

Marie-Eve

nickyb2k16's picture
nickyb2k16
nickyb2k16

Posted 3 years ago on 11/09/2016 at 18h45

nickyb2k16

Posted 3 years ago on 11/09/2016 at 18h45

Hey Marie-Eve Chartrand any updates on those 180 rigs?

GenevieveDemers's picture
GenevieveDemers
GenevieveDemers Toon Boom TEAM

Posted 3 years ago on 13/09/2016 at 15h48

GenevieveDemers

Posted 3 years ago on 13/09/2016 at 15h48

Hey nickyb!

Here is one of the rigs I have created here at Toon Boom. There are some invert cut items, and a lot of curve deformation, but overall, it works with a hierarchy of pegs.

Enjoy!

https://goo.gl/lYm6re

nickyb2k16's picture
nickyb2k16
nickyb2k16

Posted 3 years ago on 14/09/2016 at 02h23

nickyb2k16

Posted 3 years ago on 14/09/2016 at 02h23

thanks Genevieve Demers
is this an advanced rig? the deformers are bblowing my mind!

GenevieveDemers's picture
GenevieveDemers
GenevieveDemers Toon Boom TEAM

Posted 3 years ago on 14/09/2016 at 08h22

GenevieveDemers

Posted 3 years ago on 14/09/2016 at 08h22

Yep! Laughing out loud

Have fun with it!

vrexus's picture
vrexus
vrexus

Posted 3 years ago on 26/10/2016 at 09h30

vrexus

Posted 3 years ago on 26/10/2016 at 09h30

Interesting that the rig didn't have working z-depth autopatching for limbs, but that's a great example regardless!

nickyb2k16's picture
nickyb2k16
nickyb2k16

Posted 3 years ago on 11/12/2016 at 19h10

nickyb2k16

Posted 3 years ago on 11/12/2016 at 19h10

hey GenevieveDemers
how do you animate this model i dont see any deformer bones to move hands,arms,body or feet,
i only see envelop deformers.

Visualbug's picture
Visualbug
Visualbug

Posted 3 years ago on 24/10/2016 at 03h07

Visualbug

Posted 3 years ago on 24/10/2016 at 03h07

THIS RIG IS AMAZING!!!!
(*how I did not read this message before!!!)

After a few rigging tutorials from Digital Tutors (pluralsight)
I have the skills.........to understand................ I can see the light!................... *****"neo to morpheus: I know kung fu" matrix movie****** Wink

I am deconstructing this file right now!!! (*and learning a lot how to organize complex rigs)

thank you thank you thank you
Genevieve!

Wink

melisso's picture
melisso
melisso

Posted 3 years ago on 11/11/2016 at 19h47

melisso

Posted 3 years ago on 11/11/2016 at 19h47

Thank you so much for this!!!

seren_animation's picture
seren_animation
seren_animation

Posted 3 years ago on 09/09/2016 at 04h06

seren_animation

Posted 3 years ago on 09/09/2016 at 04h06

Bear in mind that Jake was released at the beginning of 2011, well before the release of Harmony 9.
Presumably the version of Harmony used was 7.8, therefore before the availability of curve and bone deformers, and well before envelope deformers were developed.
So the tools available to pull off these tricks were very limited: cutters, drawing subs, skew and scale.

Wander was released 13th september 2013, so they will have been working on the show in Harmony 9, possibly Harmony 10 which will have given them access to curve and bone deformers in addition to the other tricks they have developed over the years.

Shows what can be done in early versions of Harmony, Mercury riggers seem to be even more clever than you think.

o0Ampy0o's picture
o0Ampy0o
o0Ampy0o

Posted 3 years ago on 09/09/2016 at 16h44

o0Ampy0o

Posted 3 years ago on 09/09/2016 at 16h44

Do these studios have people writing custom scripts on the fly?

Is Harmony open enough so you could shape it into something significantly more powerful than what is sold by Toon Boom?

Could we write software to work directly with Harmony as an expansion module?

seren_animation's picture
seren_animation
seren_animation

Posted 3 years ago on 10/09/2016 at 01h04

seren_animation

Posted 3 years ago on 10/09/2016 at 01h04

Some studios certainly have people writing custom scripts.
Toon boom also write and provide custom scripts for studios.
The scripting is quite powerful but there are limitations to what can be done. Pose copier is the most advanced script I've seen.
Harmony also has a plugin SDK so if you are familiar with c++ you can create your own plugins.

I don\t think these Mercury rigs use any custom scripts, it's all down to thoughtful character design, and in the case of Jake's head breaking it down into individual components and clever use of cutters and masking.
This makes for an impressive 3D effect, but there are then a lot of pieces that need to be moved.
This makes the rig complicated to use and a lot of work to animate. Although as Adam pointed out once you have built up and saved poses for the various positions, it becomes easier as these poses are a basis for yet more poses, and so on.

StaceyEberschlag's picture
StaceyEberschlag
StaceyEberschlag

Posted 3 years ago on 14/09/2016 at 00h42

StaceyEberschlag

Posted 3 years ago on 14/09/2016 at 00h42

Hello There

There was a webinar discussing pose copier from Genvieve. https://www.toonboom.com/webinars/learn-how-use-pose-copier-harmony-14

It should kickstart your understanding of Posecopier, how to set it up and how to use it.

Keep in mind it really works best in Harmony 14.

Cheers

Stace

musabI_85476's picture
musabI_85476
musabI_85476

Posted 3 years ago on 13/11/2016 at 01h56

musabI_85476

Posted 3 years ago on 13/11/2016 at 01h56

BTW , pose copier is very buggy and unusable on windows , I contacted the tech team many times and no one replied to me to solve is problem so far ! .

vrexus's picture
vrexus
vrexus

Posted 3 years ago on 13/11/2016 at 08h53

vrexus

Posted 3 years ago on 13/11/2016 at 08h53

BTW , pose copier is very buggy and unusable on windows , I contacted the tech team many times and no one replied to me to solve is problem so far ! .

Bugy how? I use it on windows with harmony 14, seems to work alright except for having to manually delete after frame positions.