Case Study - The Dragon and Vines Short
Using Komotion for Maya

For this, there was a short specification, that was simply:

  • Produce a 10 Second Video Clip – An animated scene where a sleeping Dragon creature forms in the scene from separate bones, wakes up, and takes off, when growing vines in the background approach and attempt to grab it (10+ seconds long)

  • All rigs and animations must also export to game engine


Using only Autodesk Maya and Komotion for Maya,
we started by building the Dragon Rig Structure

The project is shown in the Komotion Demo video

Estimated Object Counts (Total = 1,193) - 160+ Bones - 1,033+ Controls


Total Rigging Time: 90 Minutes


Proof

What was required?

Only required knowledge of movement and using Komotion for Maya controls and configuration

The entire Dragon rig was built from scratch in that time just using Komotion for Maya

No technical knowledge required!

It’s fully procedural - no reliance on
templates or pre-built modules!

No additional custom scripts or tools required!


So, to build this from scratch without Komotion for Maya,
what’s required to at least attempt this?

  • Spline IK cache controls for all chains (structure chains can scatter and visually detach)

  • Default pose holder to reset changes to skeleton

  • Mirror and Flip for 9 component types – affect deformations on every chain

  • Handle control manipulation and group selections for productive use

  • Creating correct joint orients for 31 chains with bone counts between 2 and 56

  • IK handles with aimer controls

  • Deal with gimbal lock issues

  • Chain/joint/controller Inheritance

  • Aim, orient and point constraints (6-DOF flexibility)


From start to finish, building the Dragon rig without Komotion for Maya would take days to weeks,
even for an experienced rigger!


Building the Dragon Rig

Each Bone Chain was individually configured and created procedurally from scratch through the Komotion UI below.

For building the structure in the scene, linking all of the chains together was automated and visual: it just required selecting the chain controller on the target parent chain in the scene, and setting the Bone Count to create the configured child chain.

After Chain Creation and linking, chains were manually moved around in the scene.

That’s all that was required!


Animating the Dragon Rig

After creating the structure, it was immediately ready to animate. In all Komotion bone chains, 11 combined animation systems are built-in, ready and always accessible.

Animation was purely visual interaction through the Komotion UI and Maya Viewport. Mirror and flip posing controls were used throughout for the legs and wings.

Animation of the wings in IK/FK was completely freeform with no limits. As the IK is 6-DOF, unique posing for the wings was effortless. Komotion Controls used to pose and animate the dragon:

  • Mirroring Controls - Quickly set poses for dragon wings, and these were then manipulated further

  • IK Controls - Planting the feet onto the floor, moving the tail, spine and more

  • FK Controls - Editing individual bones and group selection of bones

  • Root - Moving Root of structure (Pelvis) to position the hips (every chain has a root)

  • Inverse Rig - Rotate the pelvis of the rig around the back-leg Knees for positioning and posing

  • Inverse Rig - Rotate and position legs for the feet

  • Twist - Adjusting sub-hierarchy rotations


Rigging and Animating the Vines Rig

 

As with the Dragon Rig, individual bone chains with varying lengths were created in the scene, and then positioned as required. At the start, vines are present but not visible. During keyframing, they are extended and expanded to produce the growing and movement effect.

Komotion Controls used to pose and animate the vines:

  • FK Controls - Used to quickly stretch out and draft vine positions

  • Realign - (Spline Control) Set all spline paths back to their original reset state

  • Chain Ribbon - For refining Bone positioning after initial FK positioning of the chain spline

  • Thickness - Non-uniform scale to produce the growing effect using this control. Bone scale was set to zero, and then incrementally increased through keyframing

  • Spline Path Controls - Values were originally set to Zero (Chain Base) at the start, and increased incrementally for the travelling effect.


Final Summary

Ready to export to game engines, with no other preparation or technical work.

Ready to export to game engines, with no other preparation or technical work.

Estimated Total Time Taken for Everything: 30.5 hours

Rigging: 2.5 hours

Skinning: 3 hours

Animation: 25 hours

No other auto-rigging software, tools or frameworks can achieve this result at this level, in such a short time frame