The Dumping Ground Series 5
This was my first 2D Maya based project!
The brief was to take and rig a Photoshop file with up to a hundred layers of body and face parts and make this into a Maya rig. The turnaround was tight; meaning full Automation would be needed. The animators needed a rig that included an IK / FK Switch, limb scaling, image flipping control and PSD image layer selection from the controllers mainly for the face image changes. After scripting all these requirements into python, they were just a click away.
The solution I came up with was to automate the tasks with Python, leaving little that needed doing post Photoshop file delivery. Making this new 2D rigging system was an interesting challenge and perfect for python with all the modules that exist for image manipulation.
This took just under a thousand lines of code and only required the file path of the Photoshop file. The script would then do the rest. As long as the Photoshop file used consistent naming in the layers suffix, the script would cycle through all the layers and set the rig out on top and add the controls to the mesh layers that held the Photoshop file information. This meant that with relatively little time (compared to most 3D rigging jobs) the first hero characters were rolling out to be animated.
The Dumping Ground
The Dumping Ground is a BAFTA Award Winning British children's drama series that focuses on the lives and experiences of young people in care and their care workers. Filmed around Jesmond, the setting for the first series was 'Elm Tree House', which was later replaced with 'Ashdene Ridge' from the second series onwards. A spin-off to Tracy Beaker Returns, the series was commissioned in early 2012 and first broadcast on CBBC on 4 January 2013.
Series 5 of The Dumping Ground will start airing in 2017 and we can’t wait to see how the animators have brought this amazing work to life!