Week 5 Objectives and Mesh Skinning/Skeletal Animation

Heyo!

I’d like to start by saying that I am behind on my work.  I am behind on not being ahead? Paradoxical.  I had hoped by this time I would have been fairly far in my understanding of shader programming, however I have only managed to finish up to chapter 4 in the CG textbook after going at it from Friday till tonight.  However last night I did have a huge discussion with one of my roomates for about 5 hours about “Procedural Animation”.  I might blog about that next week since it is something I would like to research and implement in a game one of these days.

Skeletal Animation/Mesh Skinning

This week a spent a bit of time researching on how to properly rig some of our characters to a joint system so we can use an animation blending system using BVH files rather then keyframing everything.  Our end goal is to head into the motion capture area in the game lab and record some stuff to incorporate in our game.  Worse case scenario we will use Pinocchio to automatically rig our characters. However when we tried using it last semester we ended up having several problems with and ended up wasting time debugging.

That is a pretty big scope to measure up to if we don’t get skeletal animation working.  I understand the concept and have found some base code online for how to create a base for our skeletal animation which is not to bad, however the only problem is weighting the joint structure to the mesh.  We tried exporting that from Maya and that was causing some issues.  It would be best if we could export the weights/mesh from Maya, load the BVH and perform our mesh skinning.  However I ended up pausing that research since I read a few articles on performing the mesh skinning by using the GPU and thought it would be better to do that.

I did find a decent 2D Bone System tutorial on GPWiki, however their 3D one is not yet completed.

Goals

Overall this week I caught up to the tutorials that we have done in terms of knowing what the CG code does, however I am not yet at a point to complete any homework questions.  In the next few days I hope to catch up with the lecture material (lighting/diffuse/specular) and demo homework questions M2 and M3 (toon shading and diffuse/specular/distance light in both vertex and pixel/fragment shaders).

I also feel I should be able to complete the E8 question to make an object glow like in Batman: Arkham City.  I assume that the professor means this (http://youtu.be/YrWWUlgoLzQ?hd=1&t=3m25s) when the enemy character has a green glow that ripples down his body.

I am probably undershooting my scope a bit here with the homework questions, but in order to accomplish them I have about 60 pages of reading to get through.  Unfortunately I am a slow reader, add debugging to the mix and that will take some time.  Now instead of writing about reading it I am now actually going to get started on it.

Summary

I need to be more productive and power through these CG tutorials to get some XP in the next few days. 3 chapters down 7 more to go!

Thank you for reading,
-Moose