For a long time I’ve been wanting to pickup LollypopMan and rig him from scratch, do a mix between the old low poly version and the newer kind of plastiline version and just create a “final” one to animate with and have fun with new rigging techniques and to be able to use all my newly acquired animation knowledge in it.
During my bus trip home, out of boredom, I played with rigging his mouth, in the first LollypopMan he had a big white mouth that I handled very poorly with shapekeys:
and then In LollypopMan 2.0, the mouth was non existing so it was a sphere, but I would swich to a geometry that did have only a cut and with shapekeys and bones that would turn into a mouth…
you’ll see it in second 14 of this:
that had the appeal of “not being there, oh! there it is!”, and more than that it was part of the face, its kind of those characters that have a really tiny small mouth and suddenly they eat you with a giant bite.
Nevertheless I had always wanted to try sort of mid ground, with those thick very appealing lips, that give the character a comical edge, and it feeling more organicly part of the whole head.
So it all started like this, first i created a very simple circular shape, consisting of 8 vertices, and extruded them to get a flat donut, with the help of a shrinkwrap modifier i made it stick around the surface, and then I applied it.
From the center of the head I created 8 bones, each of them with the tail in an exact edge for easy weighting, the reason the bones have their heads in the center is because pivoting from there will ensure that the mouth would stay around the surface of the spherical shape of LollypopMan
The controlling bones, have no weights, and they point to each of their respective deformation bones with an IK with chain length of 1, could have done exactly the same with a “track to” constrain, but IK is just easier because you select the controller bone, then the “controllee” then go shift+I and you get the Ik constrain right away.
Finally created a master bone that controls the squash and stretch (easily done with a maintain volume constrain set to local), and is the parent of all the other bones.
After having this simple shape working, made the mouth final thickness with a combination of modifiers, this allowed me to keep changing how it looked until I found what I wanted.
Original shape > Solidify > Subdivision Surface
Here I was already quite happy but thought that I could try find an easy solution to push it further.
From the same vertices of the lips, I created a new object (by duplicating a loop of vertices <shift D> and then separating them with <P> I kept the same weights)… Then extruded the edge inside and outside to create a sort of tube that still keeps being deformed by the same bones, and filled it up, make sure it goes out of the sphere enough so you get a clean cut from the boolean.
then put the boolean in the sphere pointed to that object, and make the object invisible.
Add eyes, and teeth animated by hand and boom!, there you go!
for the sake of stability I did all this in 2.79, but it works in 2.8 also, and I rendered all these gifs in 2.8 for prettyness of presentation… also that way I was able to add stupid 2D fx over his head.
Now go and do your funky cartoony stuff, and tag me, I’d love to see what you do with this!
Here is the original instagram post with the first iteration