How did Snarfelynx get so fluffy??
Concept - Jeff Merghart
Model / Textures - Brandon Dix
Animation - Chris Hale
FX - Jeff Tse
Sound - Greg Meader
Now, on to the rigging of Snarfelynx! This guy was fun because he wasn't built with strict anatomical structure in mind. The art direction was to make him 'big and fluffy,' more like an amorphous blob than an actual cat. This made rigging him really fun because there was a lot of creative freedom on how to approach the rig.
One of our senior technical artists, Chris Luckenbach (http://www.baalrog.com), showed me a technique he had used on a different creature in WildStar that I felt would be well-suited for Snarfelynx. The technique is similar to the ribbon-IK setup that is pretty commonly used in toon rigging. The entire rig is driven by a NURBS proxy that fits Snarfelynx's primary mass. Anyone who's used NURBS before knows that they have strengths and weaknesses, but in this case it was the perfect solution for the performance we had in mind!
Here's a fun doodle to break it down: