redmotion: Exocortex | Species

24 January 2012

Exocortex | Species


Exocortex Species 1.0 Official Release Video from Exocortex Species on Vimeo.

Exocortex Technologies, in collaboration with CG Artists Chris Covelli and Eric Thivierge , is pleased to introduce Exocortex Species. Exocortex Species simplifies the process of human character creation from designing your character’s unique attributes, integrating sculpting results, to rig creation, even animation. With Species, you will create higher quality animated characters faster and at a lower cost, while avoiding the generic look that often come when purchasing off-the-shelf models.
Exocortex Species supports both Autodesk Softimage 2010, 2011 and 2012 on both Windows and Linux. Floating and node locked licenses are available starting at $299. For full licensing details, please refer to the Species Purchase Options.

Simplifying Characters Creation
The brain child of Chris Covelli, Exocortex Species has been designed to meet the needs of production animators and TDs while simplifying the process of character creation. Chris realized that the types of characters required in production can be viewed as variations of the fundamental human form. Thus Chris designed a system that starts with a high quality human proportional rig, either male or female, which is then customized via a simple but powerful morphology blender to the unique character proportions required for your production. Eric Thivierge joined the project to apply his Softimage plugin experience to make the best product possible. The resulting unique character form can then be converted, at the push of a button, to a high quality production rig that your animators will love working with.

Save Time, Save Money and Iterate Faster
Exocortex Species is primarily designed as a time saver. Species will save studios and artists days if not weeks of time developing character assets.
In a matter of minutes you can create multiple characters from the same proportional rig and line them up for quick reviews by your designers. Once approved you simply generate the animation rig which takes less than a minute and you’re off and running into layout and shot production.
No longer are your artists required to spend days building a mesh from scratch and the same if not more to build the rig to go along with it.
Less time spent in character development means more time for creativity in animation and thus bears a higher quality product.

Flexibly Body Types avoid that that Generic Look
To avoid both the generic cookie cutter look that often comes with using pre-build, off the shelf models and to better meet the needs of your art direction, Species has integrated an innovative body type blending system. Chris and Eric have created more than a dozen classic body types for both the male and female proportional rigs each with its own unique twist including:

  • Standard Build
  • Out of Shape / Beer Belly
  • Cartoon-Style
  • Stocky
  • Skinny
  • Obese
  • Pro Athletic Muscular
  • Exaggerated Muscular
  • Midget
If one of our classic body types doesn’t meet your needs, it is possible in Species to blend these classic body types together to create the unique mix your production requires.
These presets are accessible in the custom synoptic (GUI Picker) for the Proportional Rig.
Quality Models to Build Upon
Species includes two high quality human models, one female and one male. These models have been designed by the creators to meet the needs of production. The meshes have been modeled to ensure the topology allows for the best deformations and come complete with quality mapped UVs. For the large majority of projects, these models should be sufficient for modelling humanoids.
Mesh Customization to meet Production Needs
But if these meshes don’t meet your needs, Species supports a number of convenient work flows for achieving more:
  • Both of the models and Species rigs are designed such that additional detail can be added to the meshes.
  • Because the meshes already have quality UVs, it is straightforward to import any fine details sculpted in either ZBrush or Mudbox.
  • It is even possible to use Species with user supplied meshes. This provides the flexibility to rig a character that has already been generated by other means, enabling Species to be adopted mid-production if required.
To accelerate work flow, Species utilizes the primary synoptic view below (featured in the animation rig section) for navigating the proportional rig controllers. This synoptic is also automatically attached to any custom meshes upon import.

A Professional Grade Rig, Automatically Created
Eric Thivierge, a professional character TD at Animal Logic, has created in Species a fast and fully automated conversion system that converts your proportional rig and mesh into an animation rig. Eric’s data driven approach allows for a vast range of different rig configurations to be built on the fly.
The animation rig includes:
  • Look at control with parent switching
  • IK / FK arms and legs with stretch
  • Gimbal offsets for FK arms and legs
  • FK controls are mirrored so selecting both and rotating provides mirrored posing
  • Roll divisions along the arms and legs
  • Foot Roll and banking
  • Adjustable roll and banking pivots
  • Re-sizable biceps, forearms, femurs, and shins
  • Hybrid IK / FK spline based spine
  • Scalable rig via the Offset_M_Con

Like the proportional rig, the animation rig comes with a multi-page synoptic allowing your animators to select controls and animate with ease!
The animation rig has been designed with a mixed pipeline in mind. The deformations of the meshes are driven by null (locator) objects and thus allows users to export the mesh along with the deformers to other packages such as Maya or any others that support FBX.
The characters generated through the Species system are portable and do not require additional plug-ins to operate normally. The synoptic can be localized to the current project and can then be packaged with the model file for inter studio transfer or for sending to artists off site.
If the users so chooses, they may generate an armature with no controls from the proportional rig and then add a control system themselves.


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