Monday, March 16, 2015

Product Review - Kayla Rig by Josh Sobel

As many of you are well aware, Animation is my life. One of the fun things about being an animator is getting to play with cool rigs. Recently I stumbled upon a rig by Josh Sobel called the Kayla rig. I got in contact with Josh and asked if I could do a review of the Kayla rig and he was gracious enough to provide me with a copy.

So before I get into the review, let me show you a quick animation I did with the rig.

If you couldn't tell, that clip was Michelle from Full House, one of the best shows from the 90s. Now lets get into what you get with this rig.

Josh has provided a few cool things with Kayla. First you get the rig herself, along with a male version of the rig called Kyle. You also get a file called poseLibrary, which has various facial and hand animation poses you can copy over into your own work. Personally when working with Kayla I never used the poses provided, but I have to say the variety of them was quite nice. You also get a few custom shelves with the rig that work as a character picker. Rather than create a visual GUI you are given a shelf that has every control as its own icon. This is nice because it allows you to access different parts of the rig while hiding the controls. Personally I prefer the GUI approach of a character picker, but it was really nice that Josh provided you with this shelf so you didn't have to make them yourself.

Meet Kayla!

And meet Kyle!

Now lets get into the rig itself. If you're a beginner, the rig could be a bit intimidating. Josh packed this thing to the brim with as many controls as possible! If you want to limit the amount of controls you see though, all you have to do is click the gear icon at the base of Kayla's feet and in the Channel box tun "Minor Controls" to OFF. This section is also where you can turn on and off the visibility of Kayla's glasses, hide parts of her body, change the hair style, and the coolest part of this rig, age Kayla. Basically with this control you are able to age Kayla anywhere from 6 years old up to 18 years old. Her default age is 12. In the animation I've included at the start of this review, I had Kayla at 6 years old.

Here is where you are able to access these options.

Now Josh has come up with an interesting system with his rig. Typically on most rigs, the controls are color coordinated. Red is left, blue is right, and yellow is anything in the middle. With Josh's system, he has it set up so Yellow is your primary controls, red is your secondary controls, and purple is used to tweak your shapes. I thought this was a cool idea, though it did take some time getting used to remember which color was which.

Kayla's color coded controls

Kayla also features a unique spine that I haven't seen before. Rather than including an IK or a FK spine like most rigs, he's created a spine that works in an anatomically correct way. This was actually pretty cool and a feature I would love to see in more rigs!

I'm going to link to a few videos from Josh's site that explain all of the features of the rig

Kayla's rig was a pleasure to use and once I have more time to really sit down and work on animation outside of my Animation Mentor work, I have some exciting stuff planned with her. Josh was also a pleasure to work with, answering all of my questions almost immediately. For only 12 dollars, you'd be foolish not to pick up this incredible rig.

In the end I would have to give the Kayla rig a 9.5/10. I knocked off .5 because of the fact that I would have preferred those extra controls to be hidden, and because I would have loved a GUI character picker, but honestly at this point I'm being picky.

If you wish to find out more about Kayla, or her creator, Josh you can find Josh at the following locations!

Thanks again to Josh Sobel for providing me with this rig!

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