Skip to content

Locomotion

Automatic walking, running, jumping and more with Locomotion.


Usage

Here's what you do.

  1. Select body
  2. Select feet
  3. Run Assign Plan

What is a "Plan"?

The generated locomotion is the result of a "plan", meaning each of the inputs you give it. Including this initial selection.


Examples

Let's start with a quick look at what you can get out of this new toy.

Locobot

Modeling by Christophe Desse.

Spot and Friends

Happy Box

Yes, you can give it a terrain. 😊

Two Happy Boxes

Locoboy

A 2-legged quadruped, look at'em go!

Locomotion & Physics

Playing well together.

Humanoid Locomotion

As you can tell, quadrupeds fair much better!

Human Dynamics

But with some physics, it's starting to look nice. :)


Abilities

Here's what we're aiming for with this feature.

To achieve this, you've got control over:

  1. The start and end positions of the body and feet
  2. The order and duration of steps, called a Step Sequence
  3. An optional Terrain upon which to walk
  4. A few additional extras for fine-tuning things

There can be any number of feet and it can travel any amount of distance. The Step Sequence is how you're able to achieve different kind of walks.

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Trotting
  • Dancing
  • Jumping
  • ...

And the Terrain is how it can do this across geometry of any complexity.


Limitations

Let's talk about what cannot be solved with Ragdoll Locomotion.

Currently, it only understands 2 things.

  1. The body
  2. The foot

And for feet, it only understand the position of the foot, not its orientation.

Most importantly, it does not understand arms! Arms are critical to human locomotion, they swing in tandem with each step. This version of Ragdoll does not understand arms. Yet. Meaning it's good for locomotion involving any creature that does not have arms.

But Marcus, that doesn't leave much room for many creatures. They all have arms!

Think again!

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • ..any quadruped!
  • 6-legged creatures, e.g. crabs
  • 8-legged creatures, e.g. spiders
  • n-legged tentacle monsters

With that out the way, let's look at what it can do!


Press T

Locomotion also has a manipulator, accessible by selecting the rPlan node and pressing T on your keyboard.


Background Processing

Locomotion is computed in the background.

Normally, it'll take a second or two to compute 4-12 seconds worth of locomotion, and you can safely interact with Maya whilst it's running. It has zero impact on your overall Maya or character rig performance.


Rig Compatibility

Anything from a box with a sphere for feet to the most complex digi-double will do.

The rig in the above example is nothing special, as you've seen from the examples above this works on "rigs" as complex as a box and 2 spheres.


Multiple Characters

You can have as many characters in the scene as you like.

Parallel Processing

That's right! If 1 character takes 2 seconds to compute, 5 characters also takes 2 seconds to compute. Or 10 characters, or 100 characters. 2 seconds in total, that's all you'd have to wait, up to the number of cores on your system.

As core-count continues to increase in our machines, you can expect the number of characters being run in parallel to increase as well, up to the level of full crowds; each individual character a unique and precise sequence of steps that conform to their environment.

image

Juice Left

There is still a little bit of juice left to squeeze.

At the moment, if Ragdoll detects any relation between one plan and another, it will run these one-by-one.

Normally, this is not the case, but if you for example connect the output of one plan to the input of another, there isn't much that can be done other than wait for one to finish. However this can also happen when unrelated things are connected, such as your character being connected to two plans, such that you can blend between them. This is too much, and will be addressed in a future release. Subtle balance!


Physics

Locomotion is an entirely separate "brain" that you may, or may not, want to combine with regular Markers.

Body and/or feet can be Kinematic or driven by a Pin Constraint, or anything inbetween.


Recording

Unlike a simulation, Locomotion is entirely time independent. So it isn't strictly necessary to record; it will run directly on your character rig.

You can edit the locomotion as keyframes via Maya's native Bake Results command.


Step Sequencer

This will become your new best friend. With an easily recognisable pattern for when to move your feet.

  1. Select Sequencer Mode
  2. Hold Shift to paint
  3. Hold Ctrl to erase

It can be used to produce a wide variety of locomotion, such as this frog sequence.


Targets

Once you've figured how to get somewhere, next up is figuring out where to go.

  1. Select Target Mode
  2. Select either Start or End of the body or foot
  3. Use the Translate gizmo to control the position of either body or foot
  4. Use the Rotate gizmo to control the start and end orientation of the body

Use the Rotate gizmo to control the orientation of the body at the start or end positions.


Limits

Is your character jumping or limping? Maybe dancing? Limits control the area in which each foot is allowed to move.

  1. Select Limit Mode
  2. Select the body to adjust the size of your character
  3. Select a foot to adjust the amount of motion a foot is allowed to have

Here's an example of how a short limit on one foot, and long steps with the other foot, can generate a wounded or limping locomotion.


Terrain

Things can easily get more interesting by swapping out that flat ground with some geometry.


Shift to Toggle

You can choose whether to use the Shift and Control keys to add and remove steps in the Locomotion Step Sequencer, or whether to use Shift for both. Dragging over a filled step will erase it, whereas dragging over an unfilled step will fill it. A toggle!


Last update: 2022-07-12