Animator Brent Forrest has released BoolieMan: an interesting character rig for Maya designed to mimic the behaviour of a claymation figure for animation tests, previz, or… well, just claymation.
In many ways, the BoolieMan is extremely simple: FK/IK switches for the arms and legs, basic ‘mitten’ hands, no UVs, and only a single material colour.
What makes it interesting is that the mesh is created out of custom Boolean primitives. Rather than remaining uniform as the character moves, the density of the mesh can be dialled up and down, just like real clay.
Looks like clay, moves like clay
The rig, which is still officially a beta, comes as a basic biped, but just like clay, you can shrink, stretch, deform or even detach and reattach limbs: the demo shows results ranging from mutants to animal-like characters.
And if the animation tests in the demo video are anything to go by, the results really do look like clay, in all its lumpiness and wobbliness. British viewers of a certain age will be irresistibly reminded of Morph.*
The BoolieMan rig is available via CreativeCrash, price $20. It’s designed for Maya 2011 and above: Forrest says that it’s probable that it will run on Maya 2010, but that it hasn’t been tested on the platform.
*If you aren’t familiar Aardman’s much-loved early work, you can find a playlist on YouTube.