Deepak Rajan kicked off the Cassowary project with zero rigging experience. As a self-taught artist, he had spent a few years practicing his modelling and animation skills, but had yet to delve into the simulation world. He considered many other simulation offerings prior to finding Ziva, such as nCloth and Skinning, but was turned off by the complexity and frequent demand for workarounds. On his search for more procedural solutions, he stumbled across Ziva; drawn in be the many success stories from fellow early-stage artists. And just as he had expected, he was able to grasp the fundamentals of Ziva VFX and build a clear, concise pipeline strategy within a few short days. Deepak turned towards the Ziva VFX documentation for preliminary guidance, referred to the active Ziva Community forums for more nuanced assistance, and even made use of his existing Python skills to leverage zBuilder.
Deepak loved Ziva's approach to creature rigging. Although he admits it required a more careful attention to detail, especially for anatomical modelling, the linear, procedural nature of the software allowed Deepak to learn the steps quickly and intuitively. Everything fed into the next logical step, making it easy to comprehend, navigate, and improve on retroactively. He recommends Ziva VFX to all independent creature artists, even those who do not specialize the rigging. The underlying anatomy offered a phenomenal infrastructure to show off lifelike animation, high-quality grooming, and intricate models.
Deepak managed to surpass his own expectations by simulating multiple iterations with impressive turnaround times. His 16 GB Intel i7-6700K CPU was able to complete three to four iterations a day. These speed gains were chiefly important as Deepak iterated on the Cassowary's challenging hanging wattle and throat. This unusual neck/wattle required a high level of self collisions and a more thorough understanding of Ziva's fat/skin system. With the help of the Ziva Community, Deepak was able to adjust the substeps to get the look he wanted.
Lastly, Deepak wanted to highlight this area of the bird in a unique way. He decided to add a cherry on top, literally. In the latter half of the sim, the Cassowary swallows a small cherry, and as it makes its way down the bird's long neck, the surface of neck is lifted as the cherry pushes against the Cassowary's throat. This elasticity effect occurred naturally in the sim and produced a unique final look that Deepak was proud to add to his portfolio.