The Picker Tool
One of my key goals in working with the Malcolm rig was to introduce myself to the picker tool, a visual, comprehensive interface for controlling a character rig quickly and easily. Malcolm's picker options are quite detailed, which gives the animator a lot more freedom of expression when posing the character. This picker tool is of course provided by the fine people at www.Animschool.com
The Tween Machine
When I was at VFX festival a few months ago, I went a presentation on character animation by an animation director, who shared with us a couple of ways of refining character animation without ever using the graph editor. One method was simply middle clicking on your key in the timeline and moving to a new position on said timeline in order to hold a key. The other means was by employing a plugin called the tween machine, created by Justin Barrett and free at: http://justinsbarrett.com/tweenmachine/, which essentially creates breakdown poses using a percentage of influence from the key before or after the key you wish to create. Saves a lot time when you trying to apply the principles of animation to your character!
Create Cluster from Soft Selection
Another goal I had for this particular project was to create/animate impressions in the sofa as Malcolm distributed his weight on the cushions. In Maya you can create and animate a cluster of vertices with the deformer option but there's no way to make a soft selection with the feature. Alternatively I could have create a blend shade to animate the indents, but it just didn't seem like the most intuitive way to go about it. This Python plugin, written by Brian Escribano and available free at:
http://www.mediafire.com/file/545fkr217ag549t/ld_createSoftCluster.zip, solved that problem beautifully.
Richard Cunningham - IHM Founder