A Simple Setup

This page is dedicated to explain, step by step, a simple process of creating and setting every AdonisFX deformer in Maya. The scenarios presented here are intended to provide the minimum required configurations to obtain plausible results.

AdnSkin

To create a basic scenario using the AdnSkin deformer, start with a scene with the following elements:

  • A target mesh with deformation.
  • A skin mesh without animation or deformation.

The AdnSkin deformer will get applied to the second mesh which will become the simulated mesh.

Figure 1: Basic setup for skin simulations.

Create Deformer

To create the AdnSkin deformer select the target mesh and then the skin mesh. Then press the AdnSkins shelf button or go to AdonisFX Menu > Skin.

To create the AdnSkin deformer with some initial customisation, double-click the shelf button or press the option box in the menu item. This will display a pop-up window that will allow to do some initial customisation, as well as creating the deformer with a custom name. Once all data has been provided press the Create button and the deformer will get created.

Figure 2: AdnSkin deformer creation scenario.

Paint Weights

Once the AdnSkin deformer is properly created it is possible now to paint its weights to correctly setup the deformer properties. To do so, select the simulated mesh and press the paint tool shelf button or go to AdonisFX Menu > Paint Tool.

Start by painting Soft Constraints by selecting the option from the attribute enumerator. Flood this weight to a low value of 0.2 to have a uniform distribution of soft constraints. This will help the skin to follow the reference mesh.

Figure 3: Soft Constraints weights paint.

Now paint Hard Constraints in two steps. First, flood this weight to a value of 0.1 to help the skin (together with the soft weights) to follow the reference mesh. Then, set the edges to 1.0 to attach them strongly to the reference mesh.

Figure 4: Hard Constraints weights paint.

Then select the Slide Constraints attribute and paint weights only in those areas where the skin is supposed to slide over the reference mesh. In this case, focus these weights over the scapulas and the joints of the limbs.

Figure 5: Slide Constraints weights paint.

Finally, select the Sliding Distance Multiplier attribute and paint weights to 1.0 only in the sliding areas. This will ensure that the vertices with sliding properties will get assigned with the maximum sliding distance (defined by the Max Sliding Distance attribute), while the non-sliding vertices will get assigned with 0.0 sliding distance, which will improve the performance of the simulation.

Figure 6: Sliding Distance Multiplier weights paint.

The order of painting is important because after every stroke a normalisation of weights soft, hard and slide is performed to ensure that the sum is less or equal to 1.0. In this example, after painting Slide Constraints, both Hard Constraints and Soft Constraints will update reducing their respective values in the areas painted with maximum sliding.

With this basic paint setup the AdnSkin deformer will already show plausible results, expected of the skin to the reference target mesh. However, the possible parameters and tweaks to display high fidelity dynamics can be seen in the documentation for AdnSkin.

AdnMuscle

To create a basic scenario using the AdnMuscle deformer, start with a scene with the following elements:

  • An animation rig.
  • A geometry representing the muscle to simulate.

In this case the proposed example is to simulate a biceps in an animated full body rig. The AdnMuscle deformer will be applied to the mesh of the biceps.

Figure 7: Basic setup for biceps simulations.

Create Deformer

To create the AdnMuscle deformer select the mesh of the muscle, then press the AdnMuscle shelf button or go to AdonisFX Menu > Solvers > Muscle. This will assign the AdnMuscle deformer to the selected muscle.

Figure 8: AdnMuscle deformer creation scenario.

To create the AdnMuscle deformer with some initial customisation, double-click the shelf button or press the option box in the menu item. This will display a pop-up window that will allow to do some initial customisation, as well as creating the deformer with a custom name. Once all data has been provided press the Create button and the deformer will get created.

Figure 9: AdnMuscle custom creation UI.

In order to add attachment constraints to the muscle select the targets (joints, geometries or both), then the muscle with the AdnMuscle applied and finally press the add target button or Add Targets in the AdonisFX menu from the Edit Muscle submenu.

Figure 10: Addition of transform targets to AdnMuscle.
Figure 11: Addition of geometry targets to AdnMuscle.

Additionally, target geometries that have been added to an AdnMuscle deformer (see Figure 11) can also be used to define Slide On Geometry Constraints. This constraint type is recommended for muscles in the limbs of the character to follow better the animation.

NOTE
  • Attachments to geometry and slide on geometry constraints are meant to simulate interaction muscle to bones. The use of simulated muscles as geometry targets for other muscles is not supported.

Optionally, add Slide On Segment Constraints. This constraint works in a similar way to Slide On Geometry Constraints, however, instead of providing a geometry a pair of joints of the rig will be specified representing the segment the muscle will slide on. Selecting first the two joints of the rig (shoulder and elbow) and then the muscle geometry, go to AdonisFX Menu > Muscle > Add Slide On Segment Constraint.

Paint Weights

Once the AdnMuscle deformer is properly created it is possible now to paint its weights to correctly setup the deformer properties. To do so, select the simulated mesh and press the paint tool shelf button or go to AdonisFX Menu > Paint Tool.

Start by painting attachment weights, painting the influence for each target by selecting the corresponding target from the list and painting its desired influence.

NOTE

In this example the influence painting for both types of attachment constraint is shown. The different types of attachments can be used together or not depending on the needs of the simulation and the rig setup.

Figure 12: Transform Attachment influences (joints and locators).
Figure 13: Geometry Attachment influences (meshes).

Then, paint the muscle tendon weights, by selecting the Tendon attribute from the Attribute enumerator and paint over the parts of the muscle that should have tendon tissue.

Figure 14: Tendon weights for biceps.

Once tendons are painted, when selecting the Fibers attribute from the Attribute enumerator, painted fibers will be displayed, with a default direction set by the painted tendons. It is now possible to freely comb these fibers if it is desired.

To change the fiber size or its colour, go to the Attribute Editor in the debug submenu, and customise the colour, width and length of the drawn lines.

Figure 15: Muscle fibers combing.

Finally, paint Slide On Segment or Slide On Geometry Constraints (if added). It is recommended to paint only the vertices that are not attached to the rig. In this example, the tendons are painted with a value of 0.0, while the rest of the shape is painted to 1.0 or lower values.

Figure 16: Slide on segment weights for biceps.
Figure 17: Slide on geometry weights for biceps.

Connect Sensors

To have the muscle changing and responding to external inputs (i.e. the flexion of the arm), AdnSensorRotation can be added to drive the activation of the muscle.

To do this, first create a rotation locator and sensor to compute the elbow angle. Both elements can be created by selecting the three joints from which to create the rotation locator and sensor (shoulder, elbow and wrist joints) and directly click on the adnRotationSensor shelf button or go to AdonisFX Menu > Sensors (on the Create group) > Rotation. With this, both a locator and its corresponding sensor will get created at the same time.

Figure 18: Rotation locator and sensor setup in elbow.

Now that the sensor is created it has to be connected to the deformer. To do so, make use of the Connection Editor, which must be opened from the AdonisFX Menu > Sensors (on the Edit group) > Connection Editor.

With the Connection Editor opened, select the locator from the scene and press the Reload Left button, then select the simulated mesh and press the Reload Right button. The list widgets will refresh with the respective connectable attributes. Select the activationAngle attribute from the locator and the activation attribute from the deformer, and click Make Connection.

Figure 19: Connection Editor tool.

When the elbow is flexed (and therefore the angle from the locator gets smaller) the muscle activation will get higher, simulating a much more realistic scenario.

To tweak additional parameters of the AdnMuscle deformer, check this page.

AdnRibbonMuscle

The process to setup an AdnRibbonMuscle is very similar to the one of setting up and AdnMuscle. It essentially follows the same steps. Start with the following elements:

  • An animation rig.
  • A geometry representing the muscle to simulate.

In this case a planar muscle will be simulated corresponding to a biceps, which will yield similar results to the case of the AdnMuscle deformer previously shown.

Figure 20: Basic setup for planar biceps simulations.

Create Deformer

Similar to AdnMuscle, create the AdnRibbonMuscle deformer by selecting the mesh to deform (the biceps muscle) and then pressing the AdnRibbonMuscle shelf button or go to AdonisFX Menu > Solvers > Ribbon Muscle.

Figure 21: AdnRibbonMuscle deformer creation scenario.

To create the AdnRibbonMuscle deformer with some initial customisation, double-click the shelf button or press the option box in the menu item. This will display a pop-up window that will allow to do some initial customisation, as well as creating the deformer with a custom name. Once all data has been provided press the Create button and the deformer will get created.

Figure 22: AdnRibbonMuscle custom creation UI.

In order to add attachment constraints to the ribbon muscle select the targets (joints, geometries or both), then the muscle with the AdnMuscle applied and finally press the add target button or Add Targets in the AdonisFX menu from the Edit Muscle submenu.

Figure 23: Addition of transform targets to AdnRibbonMuscle.
Figure 24: Addition of geometry targets to AdnRibbonMuscle.

Additionally, target geometries that have been added to an AdnRibbonMuscle deformer (see Figure 24) can also be used to define Slide On Geometry Constraints. This constraint type is recommended for muscles in the limbs of the character to follow better the animation.

NOTE
  • Attachments to geometry and slide on geometry constraints are meant to simulate interaction muscle to bones. The use of simulated muscles as geometry targets for other muscles is not supported.

Optionally, add Slide On Segment Constraints. This constraint works in a similar way to Slide On Geometry Constraints, however, instead of providing a geometry a pair of joints of the rig can be specified representing the segment the muscle will slide on. Selecting first the two joints of the rig (shoulder and elbow) and then the muscle geometry, go to AdonisFX Menu > Muscle > Add Slide On Segment Constraint.

Paint Weights

Once the ribbon muscle deformer is properly created it is possible now to paint its weights to correctly setup the deformer properties. To do so, select the simulated mesh and press the paint tool shelf button or go to AdonisFX Menu > Paint Tool.

Start by painting attachment weights, painting the influence for each target by selecting the corresponding target from the list and painting its desired influence.

NOTE

In this example the influence painting for both types of attachment constraint is shown. The different types of attachments can be used together or not depending on the needs of the simulation and the rig setup.

Figure 25: Transform Attachment influences (joints and locators).
Figure 26: Geometry Attachment influences (meshes).

Then, paint the muscle tendon weights, by selecting the Tendon attribute from the Attribute enumerator and painting over the parts of the muscle to represent tendon tissue.

Figure 27: Tendon weights for planar biceps.

Now that tendons are painted, when selecting the Fibers attribute from the Attribute enumerator, painted fibers will be displayed, with a default direction set by the painted tendons. It is now possible to freely comb these fibers if it is desired.

In case the fiber or its colour has to be manipulated, go to the Attribute Editor, in the debug submenu, and customise the colour, width and length of the drawn lines.

Figure 28: Muscle fibers combing.

Finally, paint Slide On Segment or Slide On Geometry Constraints (if added). It is recommended to paint only the vertices that are not attached to the rig. In this example, the tendons are painted with a value of 0.0, while the rest of the shape is painted to 1.0 or lower values.

Figure 29: Slide on segment weights for planar biceps.
Figure 30: Slide on geometry weights for planar biceps.

Connect Sensors

The process to connect and AdnSensor to an AdnRibbonMuscle is the exact same to the one followed here.

Figure 31: Connection Editor tool with AdnRotation sensor connected to AdnRibbonMuscle.

To tweak additional parameters of the AdnRibbonMuscle deformer, check this page.

AdnSimshape

To create a basic scenario using the AdnSimshape deformer, start with a scene with the following elements:

  • An animated facial mesh to which to apply the deformer.
  • A rest mesh.
  • Optionally, a deformation mesh with only the facial deformation (no animation) to allow muscle activations.

All these meshes must have the same number of vertices and correspond to the same facial model.

Figure 32: Basic setup for facial simulations.

Create Deformer

To create the AdnSimshape deformer it is required to select first the rest mesh and then the animated mesh. In this scenario, the animated mesh will be used as the simulated mesh.

Press the AdnSimshape shelf button or go to AdonisFX Menu > Simshape.

To create the AdnSimshape deformer with some initial customisation, double-click the shelf button or press the option box in the menu item. This will display a pop-up window that will allow to do some initial customisation, as well as creating the deformer with a custom name. Once all data has been provided press the Create button and the deformer will get created.

Figure 33: AdnSimshape deformer creation scenario.

To add the deformation mesh to the deformer first select the deformation mesh, then the simulated mesh (which is the animation mesh) and then go to AdonisFX Menu > Simshape (on the Edit group) > Add Deform Mesh. A message will notify is that the addition of the rest mesh has been done correctly.

Figure 34: Addition of deform mesh to AdnSimshape deformer.

Paint Weights

In the case of the AdnSimshape use the Maya Paint tool to setup and paint its paintable weight attributes. The most important paintable map is the Attraction Force as this is the value that dictates how much of each simulated vertex should follow the animation. This value is flooded by default to 1.0, meaning that by default the simulated mesh will follow completely the animation, without displaying dynamics.

In high deformation areas, such as around the mouth or under the eyes, add medium to low values (in this case painting with a value of 0.4).

Figure 35: Attraction Force weights for medium dynamics areas.

Painting lower Attraction Force weights in meatier areas of the face, such as under the neck or in the cheecks to show more dynamics in these regions. In this case a value of 0.15 will be applied.

Figure 36: Attraction Force weights for high dynamics areas.

The lowest values (0.1 in this case) will be applied to the area under the jaw where dynamics will appear the most.

Figure 37: Attraction Force weights for highest dynamics areas.

After painting similar weights to the ones displayed and pressing playback to check the animation, realistic dynamics should be simulated in the face. Many more paintable weights to better customise and tweak face dynamics are avaliable and fully explained in the documentation for AdnSimshape.

Add muscle activations

To further have a realistic depiction of facial dynamics, facial muscle activations can be simulated. The AdnSimshape deformer has two methods of handling muscle activations:

  • AdonisFX Muscle Patches file.
  • Edge Evaluator Node.

Refer to this section to see how to use Muscle Patches files. However, in this example, it is taken advantage of the AdnEdgeEvaluator Node. To create this node, select the rest mesh, then the deformation mesh, and then go to AdonisFX Menu > Nodes > Edge Evaluator. Then, once created, connect it to the AdnSimshape deformer via AdonisFX Menu > Simshape (on the Edit group) > Connect Activations Plug.

Figure 38: Connecting Edge Evaluator Node to AdnSimshape Deformer.

In the attribute editor of the AdnSimshape deformer, under the Muscles Activation section, the Plug Values will be enabled as a new valid Activation Mode option. To better visualise activations, press the AdnMuscle shelf button or go to AdonisFX Menu > Simshape (on the Edit group) > Activations Debugger.

AdnSkinMerge

To create a basic scenario using the AdnSkinMerge deformer, start with a scene with the following elements:

  • One or more animation meshes with deformation.
  • One or more simulation meshes, for example with an AdnSkin deformer applied and properly configured.
  • A final mesh without animation or deformation.

The AdnSkinMerge deformer will get applied to the final mesh which will be the result of blending the animation and simulation meshes.

Figure 39: Basic setup for skin merge. Meshes isolated for better visualisation. From left to right: Final Mesh, Animation Mesh, Simulation Mesh.

Create Deformer

To create the AdnSkinMerge deformer press the AdnSkinMerge shelf button or go to AdonisFX Menu > Deformers (on the Create group) > Skin Merge.

With this action the Create Skin Merge UI will open, allowing to add all the required elements to create the deformer. To add the required meshes select the mesh in the scene and press the corresponding Add Selected button. You may also set up a custom name and initialisation time in this window before creating the deformer. Make sure the initialisation time corresponds to the start time where all the geometries are in rest pose.

When everything has been properly set up, press the Create button to create the AdnSkinMerge deformer.

Figure 40: Create Skin Merge window with corresponding meshes added.

Paint Weights

Once the AdnSkinMerge deformer is created the weights can be painted to blend the animation and simulation meshes into the final mesh.

The Blend attribute represents the level of influence of the simulated mesh: a value of 0.0 makes the vertices follow the animated inputs, while a value of 1.0 makes the vertices follow the simulated inputs.

To have a smooth transition from the simulated mesh to the animated mesh, smooth the painting in the areas near the the edges between the simulation and animation meshes.

Figure 41: Blend weights painted map.

With this basic paint setup the AdnSkinMerge deformer will now show the results of skin simulation transferred to the final mesh.

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