Let’s make an animated dragon in 8 steps!
The title may make it sound like a walk in the park, but don’t get fooled fellows, it will surely be a painful and slow process the first time! And maybe even second and the third…
Step 1: find a reference
I decided to base mine on San Giorgio and the Princess painted by the great Cosme’ Tura around 1470.
Step 2: Sculpt it!
I used Oculus Medium for this and it took me about 30 minutes only. This was the funniest and more right-brain involving part of the whole process…
Step 3: Retopologise the obj
This is how the mesh looks in Maya once you import it from Oculus, it’s A HOT MESSH!
The screen grab below is in the between and after the retopology.
Personally I find drawing quads a rather enjoyable process, it’s a bit like doing a jig-saw.
Step 4 and 5: Rigging and setting up controls
Ok, this is where the multiple headaches followed by panic attacks may start to kick in. Below is a screen grab the first attempt I made. It worked well however I decided to use a TSM rigging machine in the model I used for the final animation.
Step 6: Paint Weight
This is quite straight forward to execute but it must be done carefully. The best way I found was to run a test animation to see the behaviour of the different regions of the mesh in relation to each movement.
Step 7: Materials and lighting
Assign some kind of material to your dragon and light up the scene! I wanted it to look like it’s made of shiny rubber.
Step 8: Animation
Finally, you get to animate! In this scene the dragon simply walks from one edge of the screen to the other.