Character animation research and development company Kickstand has added new features to StretchMesh, its surface deformation plug-in.
Intended for use by animators and technical directors, StretchMesh 1.5 is intended to streamline the process of building character animations in Autodesk Maya Software. The new version adds an algorithm for relational vertex knowledge.
The algorithm also shares polygonal knowledge with neighboring vertices, and the company says its addition speeds the creation of smooth character deformations in Maya.
Also newly added are improvements to the flexibility animating collisions using primitive sphere and primitive curve colliders -- these are intended to offer more robust performance than mesh sphere colliders, with the same kind of behavior.
StretchMesh 1.5 also lets users paint the influence of a collision object to allow for per-vertex control over impacts, and curve attractors provide the ability to pull vertices toward the closest point on a curve to support facial rigging.
Daniel Dawson, director of Character Technology at Kickstand, commented: "Character skin is very elastic and difficult to animate. By giving polygonal meshes an inherent ‘stretchy’ characteristic, StretchMesh removes the time-intensive process of manually tweaking skin weights to streamline rigging of complex body and facial movements."