Mixamo. Animation in seconds. Free auto rigging with control rig. Character generating. All in your browser. This is the stuff we have all been waiting for and it is here.
Rigging can be such a pain, can’t it? I’ll tell you from experience it certainly can be. And even if it isn’t a pain, it still takes forever. You’ve got to create the rig, bind it, paint the skin weights, and more. But what if you could go from model to rigged model in about sixty seconds, and for free.
You can. With Mixamo you can upload your biped mesh, drag and drop little pointer thingies on the chin, wrists, knees, and elbows, wait about 30 seconds while Mixamo processes it, and BOOM. Fully rigged with nice deformations, too. For us Indy game developers, this is incredibly valuable. And for everyone else too. So what’s the catch, you ask. There could be one. It depends on your mesh. IF your character mesh is 10,000 triangles or less, you can auto rig for free. If it’s higher triangle count than that, you must pay $89.99. If you don’t think you will be able to get your mesh under 10,000 triangles, you probably can if you use a normal map. Don’t know what a normal map is? I’ll cover that tomorrow. Or you can Google it. So really cool, huh? Keep reading, it gets better.
Character generation. Now, Mixamo used to have a really great character generator, but Autodesk bought it so who knows what they are doing with it. But Mixamo still has a decent character generator. You start with a character, then adjust some sliders and check a few checkboxes and select some stuff from drop down menus, and there you have it. (Was that a run on sentence?) However, you must pay like ten dollars to download your character. Which is pretty inexpensive, I think. You can download it in different file formats such as fbx and bva or whatever. I can’t remember.
Then, perhaps the best part of all if you’ve got a bit of money to spend. The animation. With Mixamo you can choose a Mixamo rigged character ( meaning either a generated character or an Auto Rigged one) and apply pretty much any animation you can think of to it. Running, idle, walking, dancing, shooting, and way, way more. And you can even adjust the animation to your liking. You can set the amount of slouch to your character, or speed, and alter the animation all with simple slider buttons.
There is one other thing. They have quite a number of pre-made rigged characters for sale. Some are free. They also have pre-rigged base meshes for free, so you can download the base mesh ( male, female, or beast), bring it into Mudbox or Zbrush or even just a modeling program, make it nice, make it how you want it, then upload it again to Mixamo to animate it. But anyway. Go visit the site for yourself.
One other thing. You’ll need the free Unity web player. You’ll see.