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Rule of Rescue | Completed Quadruped Rig, Production and Beginning Stages of Post

Since the last blog post, filming has been completed with a rough cut of the short film and I have finished the quadruped rig and found an animator to complete the short sequence for the deer. The next stage for the deer is to groom it while it's being animated.

Completed Quadruped Rig and Deer Groom

The two main things I learned sitting down with the rig this time were blendshapes and skin weighting.

Neither were difficult to understand but I did have to go back to the modeler and ask for another mesh. The sequence is a simple animation with the most detail being the eyes blinking and/or an ear twitch. I really only need a mesh with the eyes blinking, so I just have one blendshape.

The biharmonic skin weighting that is calculated by Houdini was pretty accurate by default, there weren't any major issues save for that the ear bone regions captured the antlers. That was a simple fix with a paint capture layer and just painting over some parts of the face and then the entirety of the antlers to be in the capture regions for the main head bone.

Overall, I actually had a good experience in Houdini with rigging. I've had read and heard some mixed reviews on it, but besides how it sits out on obj level and the paths that are automatically created are absolute (which makes packaging it for an HDA a bit tedious to fish out the paths and change them), I found the tools to be fine. I received good results and any mess ups where easy to fix since the workflow is non-destructive.

Learning rigging has actually been really useful to be in other projects for posing characters. I set up a simple biped for a plush goat that I am grooming for a final project (which I will probably blog about at the end of the quarter). I created the model in a t-pose so that the rest position for the vellum simulation wasn't it sitting. A checkpoint render requires the plush in a sit position and I was able to quickly pose it with rigging. I'm really glad I learned it!

Below are some figures showing the current skin weighting and the final bone set up.

The rig is currently packed as an HDA and I am waiting for feedback from the animator on the rig to make changes and/or improvements since this is my first quad rig. I think I'll post the HDA here on my website with the final renders of the deer.

I did UV layout the meshes after receiving them and matched up the shells, so that the melanin map I will paint is applied the same between the blendshapes. Below are the UV maps for the meshes.

Filming Weekend:

The two days we had for filming were jam-packed to get through a fourteen page script, but everyone did great getting there on time and moving efficiently to get the shots completed.

The actor we brought on was great to work with and we actually learned during the first he is a stunt double and background stunt man who has been in several Marvel/DC comic movies and other movies filmed in Georgia.

I was the main cinematographer and camera man for the shoot. I've been camera before for other class projects, but this one brought some pressure with it being such a large project. I just focused on making sure the shots were in focus, I had good composition and kept my eye out for continuity errors/ making sure it was kept. I had the camera on the tripod most of the time, but got to do a number of hand held shots when it was a point of view shot or the tripod was too large to fit on the set from certain angles. After reviewing the footage, I was happy with the job I did. Some of the footage will be tightened. We filmed in raw 4k, but will be delivering in 2k.


Director - Dylan Nett

Writer, Cinematographer and Camera - Hope Schroers (myself)

Producer - Louis Clark

1st AD (day one) - Annie Westmoreland

1st AD (day two) - Daniel Otero

DP and Lighting - Garret Ilardi

Photogrammetry and Cinematographer - Ben Gilbert

Production Design - Tiana Jones

Sound and Motion Capture - Andrew Halloran

Data Wrangler - CJ Harris

Slate and Cinematographer - Huy Le


Mark (main character) - Felix Perez

M-4X (droid) - Max Austin

Behind the Scenes:

Photos by Matthew Zethren (, taken while filming hunting scenes.

Next blog post will be in about three weeks with the end of the SCAD winter quarter with our progress in post production.


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