To paraphrase Patrick Henry, Give me squash and stretch or give me death. As an outsider to the CG animation production process, I’m struck by how inefficient industry-standard software seems to be in accomplishing basic animation principles like squash and stretch (or squish and squash, as some enlightened animation execs like to call it). From what I’ve read and seen, Matthieu Fiorilli’s fStretch, his Maya plug-in for Windows and Linux which just came out with a 2.0 version, appears to be a decent solution to tedious blend shapes and allows riggers and animators to achieve squash and stretch more intuitively:
Its unique work flow allows one to precisely control effects such as stretch and squash, wrinkles and fat deformations to name a few. At one end, it lets one create cartoony rig with stunning stretch and squash while at the other end, it will allow another to create very realistic fat deformations.
If you have experience with fStretch or just want to talk about CG squash and stretch, share your thoughts in the comments. An fStretch demo vid is below. Go HERE for a detailed ‘making of’ for the fun Albert Einstein facial animation at the beginning of that demo. (Don’t worry, I didn’t know it was supposed to be Einstein either until after I read the making of.) To learn more about the plug-in or download a demo, visit CGAddict.com.