The YF-19: Colours

This little video here has a basic transformation animation of the rig so far. But I want to make a longer, slower from-all-angles clip that could clearly show which part goes under which part and all that. Just to congratulate myself for the messiest, most convoluted, hardest rig I’ve created in my life, and also to show how would this fighter jet become a giant robot in my mind, using plausible mechanical unfolding of parts. I’m currently rendering said video! Coming soon 😉

So to capitulate: While I was dealing with the rig form fighter to GERWALK to Battroid, I had to come up with certain actions for things like the legs. The arms were folded above and would intersect a part of the leg, so there had to be an open space there, that would ideally get closed once the leg got created. So I came up with a small hatch that folds, using this image from the toy as reference:


When it’s in plane mode, that plaque had to go somewhere, so I made it go low and as some sort of airflow fin to cover the arm joint (because why not)

June 11 - Created leg cover mechanics

June 11 – Created leg cover mechanics

This is not part of the original design but figures out the problem, and looks close enough, so it stays. This is no longer a canon-driven YF-19, it stopped being it since it was thought in a 3d environment without the anime magic of drawings. So moving on…

June 12 - Transformation between GERWALK and Battroid legs

June 12 – Transformation between GERWALK and Battroid legs

Since the IK legs in a normal rig have to have a point of orientation so that there are knees to orientate, and the GERWALK has no knees but ankles pointing back while the Battroid has humanoid knees, I had to come up with a way to shift the whole IK skeleton of one mode to another. I used drivers and a practical slider to shift between them, so the skeleton would either copy the rotation and location of one set of bones and another.


… Yeah. Getting lost here. I had to come up with a solution because this was taking too long. So colours it is!

June 13 - Colour conventions for bones

June 13 – Colour conventions for bones


The colours are classified like this: yellow for central controllers I can actually move around, pink and blue for controllers for either the right or left side of the rig, red for controllers that I can’t move around (either because they have drivers or because it’s not “convenient” to do so, gray ones for controllers with options (IK/FK, align rotation of a foot to the IK or free for FK animation), purple for bones that have drivers involved in the transformation, green for bones that have action constraints (animation in them) like the folding of the flaps or the chest transformation into Battroid, and black ones for bones I haven’t defined yet. This system worked fairly good and it allowed me to see them quicker. I also put the bones in different layers depending on the part of the body and the functions. I left two layers for animation, one with the main controllers and one with secondary animation controllers (like the fingers, head turret or airbrakes.


June 14 - Figuring out the panel intersections

June 14 – Figuring out the panel intersections

Then I made an animation of the whole transformation so I could start looking for mistakes and fix them on the spot, but there was a problem: I couldn’t see if they were intersecting or not easily. So there had to be a solution, a quick and simple way to see if the panels were moving in the right place. I got the clue from this drawing:


Why of course. Colours again. And that’s when the Shinsei Industry YF-19 Alpha One said: BITCH, I’M FABULOUS.





Though it now resembles that creepy clown in your backyard during your 10th birthday who wouldn’t go away from your nightmares, the truth is, it’s a lot easier to see the mechanical parts  at work like this. I can see intersections and parts that protrude weirdly without squinting. I may have to stick with this for a while until I get the final details modelled, and then on to the next big part of the journey: Texturing.

So your screen might be a bit colourful for a while.

June 15 - Leg sockets carved in

June 15 – Leg sockets carved in


About Eduardo

I'm some dude with a huge love for animation and film. I've been working in TV animation for the past 6 years in New Zealand. I love dragons, pointy metal things that can cut dragons, and flight simulators.
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