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Animation Controls

When setting up a model for animation, I try to add more mobility to the character then I will need in the animation, just in case the character is required to do something unexpected once the client has seen the work.

For the setup of the fish, I needed to have independent control over the bending of the front half of the fish's body and the rear half so that I could make the tail swim without affecting the movement of the front of the fish. There also needed to be flexible control over each fin of the fish, and the mouth of the fish as well.

The movement of the entire fish is created through the use of maya's bend controlers which allow you to warp the geometry of the object along an axis. There are 10 bend deformers controling the fish's movement. There is also a point cluster deformer which opens the fish's mouth.

To allow easy access to these controls, I set up Maya's driven keys to react to custom attributes assigned to control circles which are placed outside of the fish's geometry. These controls help to make animation a real breeze once the character is set up.