bhGhocht – fresh onion skinning/ghosting tool for Maya

I was watching a recording of a live lecture with Jason Ryan (Dream-works/i Animate) when a scholar asked him if he use ghosting when animating in 3D. He mentioned a duo of reasons why he usually doesn’t, even though he uses the light-box feature all the time when animating in 2D.

I realized I feel the same way about some 3D ghosting solutions I’ve tried. One problem is that they slow the scene down typically, and another is that they are not that simple to see in the view-port, usually being a faded version of the mesh or a wire-frame of it which doesn’t read extremely clearly.

onion skinning

Then the penny dropped for me – 2D animators don’t see the fully shaded character in the light-box when animating, they see simply the lines they’ve drawn, so the spacing is a lot easier to see. So I set about writing a tool that will give an outline of the character rather than a fully shaded one when ghosted. It’s too a little different in that the animator just ghosts specific frames rather than having something serious that’s constantly updating in the scene, for my work-flow at least this is preferable.

I’ve been testing and trying this out while animating for the last couple of days and am finding it’s really helping me see the spacing a lot more obviously than before.
UPDATE – The first release version is ready now… Follow this link to the tutorial video and you’ll find the link there. Hope you find it helpful!