I'm a massive fan of the movie Wall-E. It has always amazed me how the animators at Pixar were able to display emotion from a robot, without a single word being spoken. Rather than recreating the Wall-E from the film, I've decided to model the Lego® version which I have at home. Having modelled and rigged the character Daniel Bielawski was kind enough to take on the task of bringing Wall-E to life which you can see in the playblast above.

Modelling

In order to save time I decided to purchase BrickIt, unfortunately this application works with Arnold proxy models that cannot be converted into regular geometry. For this reason I decided to use those bricks as a base and build my own meshes around them. This would ensure a transfer to another DCC was possible. Wall-E being such a custumized Lego® model meant some pieces had to be modelled from scratch. During the animation stage it also became apparent that the model by design was very limiting in its movement. For this I exercised a bit of creative freedom and changed the parts in a way that would allow the model to move more freely, which really benefits the animation.

Wall-E Wireframe View

Rigging

The rig was built using a personal modular rigging system which ensures the rig can be rebuilt at any time. This came in handy pushing through model updates or any of the feedback from Daniel. The biggest challenge was to determine where the Lego® structure could be broken, building in this functionality really helped animation as it opened up more extreme poses. I'd love to be able to see what other animators are able to do with these characters, therefore the rigs can be downloaded for free on my Gumroad page. Not only does it contain the Wall-E rig but also the rigs of his plant and Hall the cockroach.

Wall-E Rig View