I’ve been going to most of the Maya classes in order to get an idea of how easy or difficult it is to use and also to get some general info on modeling and animation techniques that I can apply to Blender. It looks like it has a pretty similar nodal structure but is definitely a bit easier to find your way around with. I’ve found out a few useful ways to model more complex characters and objects.
I’ve just had a go at rigging and animating in Blender. I haven’t tried rigging before but the project (which is for a current job) is relatively simple. The armature was for a Salmon, so it was relatively straightforward. Being able to properly articulate models and animate them creates a lot of possibilities for developing relaxing interactive experiences like animated underwater environments with gently swaying coral reefs and animated fish. I’ve got some basic (unrigged) character animation working in the Game engine already which I used at the Reading Rooms recently:
http://vimeo.com/16222683 starting from about 3:15
Actual, properly rigged models will make it a lot slicker.
I’m also having a look at Blender’s water simulation (unfortunately not available in the Game Engine) It seems pretty powerful but a little tricky to use. Here’s a link to what can be done with it in the right hands 🙂
The other thing I’m currently trying to work out is how to make 3D sprites (2D images that use 3d orientation data to display the correct angle) I have a partially working Python script that works on the horizontal plane (1.02-1.14 in my interactive showreel) but getting the third dimension to work has been a lot more difficult. I’m getting some help from John Anderson to work out how to get correct 3d orientation data, so hopefully I’ll be able to start using it soon. The next step will be to combine 3D sprites with armatures to make complete 3D characters made up completely of sprites.
That’s about everything for now