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  1. #181
    Member revolt_randy's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    A few thoughts I thought I would share...in no particular order....

    I posted my .blend file on 4shared cause it is a WIP and not a finished thing. I figured as my work progresses, I'll be posting other versions of the file, didn't see much sense in hoggin BA's storage space. Now thinking about it, I will either edit my post and add the .blend file, or remove the link when the file is deleted. I suppose someone could learn from my expirements, so I should post the .blend, or just post the .blend when I am finished - but will I ever really be finished with it? So, it's kinda a paradox...

    Yeah, I've watched part of the mancandyFAQ videos before. Yes, I could watch them and duplicate that rig on my character. I've been stumbling a bit thru the process of creating a rig for my character, my only expirence with rigging has been the BSOD:Intro to Character Animation tutorial. I learned alot, but found I was left with a rig that only deformed a mesh and was a bitch to animate. I need to learn the 'basics' or 'principles' of rigging and I don't feel that a video tutorial will do that for me. FGC's simple leg rig was easy for me to understand, and I tweaked it a bit for my character. It's how I learn, I tear simple things apart and improve on them as I but them back together, gaining knowledge as I go.

    I used a 'Limit Distance' constraint on the heel and toe bones of my character so they wouldn't be able to be moved too far from the foot bone. The blender wiki user manual on the subject of constraints is for ver. 2.44 and has no listing for this constraint. So I played with it and think I have it working right.

    FeelGoodComics suggested I use a pole target on the leg IK chain, I go to the blender wiki again and again, no help. So I search BA and read up on it a bit, and played with it....with interesting results...

    And I can't friggin figure out how to post the screen shot I just took...I will re-edit the rest in the morning..

    it's been a long day
    Randy



  2. #182
    Member GordGoodwin's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Wanderdragon View Post
    The file got big once I added the meshdeform.
    That's why I don't really use it My computer is nothing fancy at the moment, so I've been keeping my rigs super simple.

    Atleast the buttons are working yay! And since you're using the meshdeformer, you can actually re-segment the spine bones if you want (edit: on second thought you might not want to... though it could work, it would likely be a hassle to weight properly). I think it looks really good! Don't be fooled by the messy problems you're having with the modifier, as soon as you get it working properly, it will look great!

    Here is an old article from the big buck bunny project with a sample .blend of the chinchilla. They used an inverse map from what you've done (painting the excluded areas) called 'noMdef', which is also on the bunny, and the other characters. They mention in the article having to figure out how to blend the armature with the meshdeformer, but I'm not sure how they decided to do it. Maybe analyzing their other rigs will provide an answer... I'll be looking at them as well.

    revolt_randy,

    Don't be too hard on yourself, I think you're doing great! Learning rigging from scratch in Blender must seem very daunting! I learned how to rig fairly well in Maya before switching to Blender, so it was easier to understand for me.

    Here is a little overview of how I've been approaching my rigs:

    The first thing I do on any character is layout the deform bones. If the character is stretchy, the bones are separated so they can be pulled in any direction, otherwise they are connected. The deform bones go in the same locations the bones go in reality. This will ensure your deformations work great with very little fuss (since bones in reality determine movement and defomations as well). If you find that you still need to add more bones, you can, but atleast you will have a reliable deformation base to start from. I put these bones on the last layer, and they are only for deforming the mesh.

    The control and mechanism bones go in the other layers, and control the movement of the deform bones. This keeps the motions of the rig separate from the deformations, and makes it more manageable. This is advocated by Nathan in his rigging tutorial, in which he makes a duplicate set of bones to constrain the deformers to. I haven't done that myself (since I haven't worked in a pipeline with Blender yet). So far I've been parenting or constraining the deform bones to the mechanisms or controllers - but not in a way that they become part of the mechanism. Just so they follow along.

    As for taking apart the work of others, even complex work can be understood. Just save off a copy of the file, and start stripping it down, and seeing what breaks it. When it breaks, you then know where to look to figure out why. Also, understanding basically how the common modifiers work - like the armature, meshdeform, lattices, etc. will help. Make sure before you start taking it apart, that you've made everything in the outliner selectable and visible! Many advanced rigs (like mancandy) hide things to keep it clean for the animator. But it can be misleading if you're trying to understand how it works!

    PS. I always load my posted images onto imgur. Great site!
    Last edited by GordGoodwin; 26-Jul-09 at 23:15.
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  3. #183
    Yeah, my computer is nothing special either. A five (six?) year old laptop hooked up to an even older crt so I don't have to squint for 3d work. I don't have a big hard drive, but I got an 8 gig flash drive for Christmas. Good for temporary storage of working files.

    I think part of the hand and foot problem may be that I've weighted the cage in those areas, but told the cage not to affect them. It may be weighting itself to the ends of the sleeves and pants too heavily because of that. But that still doesn't solve the chin problem.

    -K
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  4. #184
    Member GordGoodwin's Avatar
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    So I had an epiphany last night...

    Frankly, I dunno why I didn't think of it sooner, because this is fundamentally the concept behind the stretchy suzanne rig I've recently finished (yes, I will be presenting it here after I finish testing it).

    I noticed the meshdeformer still causes a problem with the buttons, since it distorts them! So I created an alternate solution which actually doesn't require the meshdeformer at all, but I used it anyways in the example. You could remove it entirely, and just make sure that the armature weights on the strip are identical to the weights of the same area in the body... but that becomes tricky when the vertices are not in the same positions. Hence why I stuck with the meshdeformer.

    It is kind of tricky to explain this, so I've attached an example. Since it uses the meshdeformer, I've unbound it and saved the file with compression to make it small enough. Before the file will work you will need to re-bind both the body mesh, and the buttons strip mesh (found where you would expect) by just clicking bind in the meshdeformer of each object. I've also temporarily disabled the armature as a deformer on the body mesh for purposes of this demonstration, since that is a separate issue (but I will say that I don't think the armature should be deforming the torso at all, since the meshdeform takes care of that area...).

    The buttons are parented to bones in the second armature, which follow the deformations of the vertex groups on the buttons strip. The rotation info is obtained from the chest and pelvis bones in the first armature... this is somewhat crude but unfortunately the rotation information of the mesh surface is absolute chaos and therefore unusable. You could probably design a mechanism to average the rotations of the buttons if you wanted to be more accurate.

    Unfortunately I've noticed a pretty major issue with the rig while testing this....

    When I tried linking the character into a file to test the dual armature setup, upon creating the proxy for the JackArmature (ctrl+alt+p)... it scales and rotates away from the body. This is because the armature has transformations! Both scale, and a 90 degree rotation. Usually you can fix this by just selecting the armature in object mode and pressing "ctrl+a->apply scale and rotation". However that doesn't seem to work nicely in this case and I am currently stumped as to why. The hat and eyes go crazy (but that can be fixed by just unparenting them first), and some of the bones seem to randomly re-orient themselves.

    I will continue fiddling with it, but just wanted to show you this alternative buttons solution in the meantime.

    EDIT: ALSO you will need to clear the rotations on the buttons mesh when you load the file. It is 90 degrees when you open it. I'm not really sure why it's doing that... probably something to do with the first armature being -90 and the second one being 0?
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  5. #185
    Member revolt_randy's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    OK, to finish off my thoughts, as FGC suggested, I played with pole targets on IK constraints and did a bit of experimenting....

    As seen in the attached picture, the left leg, without the green constrained thigh uses a pole target on the calf's IK constraint, the right leg with the green colored thigh uses a track to constraint on the green thigh. I then grabbed both feet in pose mode and moved them up vertically along the z-axis. Notice how the leg with the pole target rotated inward. I set the rotation value of the pole target to 90 to get it to work. I am thinking this happens because the bones may not be exactly 'square' - maybe the calf is not rotated exactly 90 degrees, but perhaps 95 degrees. Maybe playing with the rotation of the pole target would fix this, but imo, setting up the track to constraint on the thigh by entering only the armature's name and target's name in the constraint panel is easier than entering the armature's name, target's name, and fussing with the rotational value in the IK solver or rotating the bones a few degrees. I will say I initially set up the rig with the track to constraint because that was the only way I knew to do it. After this experiment I think the track to constraint is easier to use than pole targets. I'm always open to discussion on this...

    As a side note....3 months ago I was using an AMD K6 puter at 500 mhz that I built sometime in 2000, I recently upgraded. For $350 I now have a intel dual core processor at 2.7 ghz, 500gig harddrive, and 2gigs of memory. I did my homework and was frugal about how I spent my money and I've got a blistering fast computer. It's so fast that I haven't even bothered messing with overclocking features...

    Randy
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  6. #186
    Member GordGoodwin's Avatar
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    Cool, yeah I'm going to invest in a good computer soon Having more than 1 processor sounds dreamy!

    That's a very interesting discovery I can't see anything immediately obvious that makes one better than the other (other than that one requires 2 solvers, and the other requires just the 1). But there may be something that is not immediately obvious...

    I know the same sort of debate applies to eyes - some people prefer track-to and others prefer IK. I prefer IK. The reason can be seen when you rotate the head - the IK stays oriented to the head, but the track-to orients to world space.

    I've attached an example of this, IK on the left, track-to on the right (relative to the character). I'm also taking this opportunity to demonstrate a simple but effective eyelid setup I recently discovered.

    The eyelids follow along with the eyeballs, but only up to rotations of 90 degrees, so if the eyeballs go behind the head the eyelids will stay facing forwards. The eyelids can also be individually rotated - and never leave the eyeball (so long as they are weighted properly). It's incredibly easy to setup (which was the goal I had when I figured it out). It may have been done elsewhere, but I haven't come across it. It's just a transformation constraint on a second bone tracking the eyeball bone. Simple but very effective .
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  7. #187
    Oh, man, now that I see that, it seems so obvious to have one big control just for the buttons. And you managed to fix most of the cuffs and wrists problem as well, I see. Yeah, I'm going to pick this all apart, though I won't be back until Wednesday, probably. I need to take a day off from rigging to help with writing. This is a many hats kind of project.

    -K
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    The singular of vertices is vertex, not vertice.



  8. #188
    Member GordGoodwin's Avatar
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    So here she is, the Stretchy Suzanne Dual Armature Rig I've been working on. I actually finished her about a week or so ago, and was going to animate with her first... I may someday, but right now I don't seem to have enough desire to and no ideas on what to do with her so I'm just going to release her and move on to other projects.

    She is very experimental, so some parts work great and other parts not so great, be sure to fiddle around and learn how she works before doing any animations with her, if you decide you are going to. There are quirks you need to be aware of, especially with linking. When you link, the proxies don't communicate with eachother properly, so you have to append her. If you want to use the same action for both armatures (which you usually do), then you have to create the action and connect it to both armatures before beginning.

    She is made out of nothing but bones and constraints. This was a challenge for myself to create a stretchy character without any lattices or meshdeformers whatsoever, and no action constraints to keep the action area clear for the animator. The result is a final rigging file of 1.1mb, which is ~400kb compressed (and attachable ). She has close to 700 bones and 2 armatures. The bulk of those bones are for the 'rubber hose' capabilities in the arms, legs, fingers, and toes. The bone layers are listed in the file.

    Some cool things:
    -Her eyes, which I actually demonstrated in the previous post
    -The rubber hose capabilities created with only bones based on the ribbon spine
    -Her face, which is really the feature of the rig. It was based on this initial discovery, and expanded. It took 3 straight days of thinking to work out how to balance a gradient influence between 2 armatures without any double transforms. I may explain more about that later....
    -The foot roll is achieved with a driven rotation constraint that is applied to 2 duplicates of the bone. This is instead of using the action constraint.
    -All of the controls follow along, including the IK/FK switches (the levers at the shoulder and hips)

    Again, this is the first go, there are many things I would change when doing it again. I would like to get the bone count down as well, since this was intended to be a quick and simple rig to setup. It is, when you understand it, but this technique is definitely not recommended for beginning riggers.

    Anyways, let me know what you think! And feel free to ask any questions you have about how it works. I also look forward to hearing more ideas on how the mechanisms for this type of rig could be designed...

    Cheers!

    Here are some quick poses to show you what it looks like:

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    Last edited by GordGoodwin; 28-Jul-09 at 18:54.
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  9. #189
    Member revolt_randy's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    I'm currently working on my rig, and I'm moving up in the world, so to speak. From the legs to the spine.... I've checked out the example files in this thread and hey, the spine looks to be quite easy compared to rigging legs. That's the story of my life, starting at the hard end/bottom and working my way up So, I've got a few questions that I could spend hours searching BA for the answers, but I figured I would ask them here to both save my time and add more content to this thread.

    FGC: This first one is probably all you. I downloaded the more advanced spine rig example you did using Ben Dansie's torso here http://blenderartists.org/forum/show...6&postcount=60. I noticed when I rotated the chest bone from side to side that the mesh deforms with a noticeable rib cage being present. How was this accomplished? I looked at the weight painting and see the difference in weights there. Was that the only thing at work here, or are there mesh deformers at work as well? I have not yet learned how to work with mesh deformers so I might have missed the 'black magic' at work there.....

    Secondly, I looked at the FAQ portion at the 1st post of this thread, and found no information on custom bone colors. I think that would be a useful addition to the FAQ section of this thread....

    Last question (for now) and I think this question would be best answered by the 'pro riggers' like Ben Dansie, FGC, jpbouza, Cessen, and anybody else I might have left out. Where on the bone levels do you add in the limiting constraints? And the same goes for locking a bone's rotations, scales, and locations. Is it best (I would think not) on the bone level with the control bones, on the level with mechinsim bones, or on the level with deform bones and above the copy location/rot constraints in the constraints panel?

    Whew...I dare you to repeat that question 3 times very quickly .....

    Thanks in advance...this thread has been a great source of info to me
    <bows down and says 'I luv you man, but no, you can't have my Bud light'>

    Randy



  10. #190
    Member revolt_randy's Avatar
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    P.S. FGC.....I will not be able to work on my rig while I spend my time tearing your suzanne rig apart.. so... and thanks for sharing...
    Randy



  11. #191
    Member GordGoodwin's Avatar
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    Haha, well that's alright, Suzanne isn't a rig for beginning. She demonstrates a new and advanced way of handling the face, using mesh-constrained controls that follow along with the mesh, but deform it as well. There is a lot of potential for confusion with setting it up, so yeah, finish your rig first She's not going anywhere

    Originally Posted by revolt_randy
    FGC: This first one is probably all you. I downloaded the more advanced spine rig example you did using Ben Dansie's torso here http://blenderartists.org/forum/show...6&postcount=60. I noticed when I rotated the chest bone from side to side that the mesh deforms with a noticeable rib cage being present. How was this accomplished?
    No idea lol. Honestly, it was just default bone heat weighting... but that's exactly what I meant earlier when I said if you have your deform bones in the right position, the resulting auto-weighting will look pretty spot on No deformers or other voodoo necessary

    Secondly, I looked at the FAQ portion at the 1st post of this thread, and found no information on custom bone colors.
    Okay, well bone colours are accessible when you group your bones in pose mode with ctrl+g, their group info will then be accessible in the 'link and materials' panel in the armature edit buttons. Bone group membership can also be changed per bone in the 'armature bones' panel under the 'BG:' rollout. Grouping bones has the added benefit of organizing the bones in the action editor, to keep things nicely organized when animating more complex characters. *Also, you will need to enable the colours by pressing the 'colors' button next to shapes in the armature panel.

    Where on the bone levels do you add in the limiting constraints? ...on the bone level with the control bones, on the level with mechinsim bones, or on the level with deform bones...
    Well, it depends on the exact use of it, but I would say always on the controls or mechanisms, never on the deformers - because remember the deformers aren't part of the solution, they just follow along with the controls and mechanisms by either being parented, or constrained. Meaning that no constraint or mechanism bones are parented or constrained to them, just other deformers if anything.

    I would also say 9/10 times it is likely best to limit the control only. This will ensure that the constraint is applied to the part the animator is using, and that the controls don't move away from what they control. If that makes sense If the control can only move so far, it can only move what it controls that far as well... so limiting the mechanisms is often redundant.

    However, it is also very rare to need to use a limit constraint on a character. Especially since the IK constraint itself supports limiting axes of bones in the chain. I just discovered this recently, and it's pretty neat! I was analyzing the generi rig yesterday, and found a new technique to handle the footroll which I really like and wanted to share. I've limited the bones in the leg IK chain to show you this (press a to select all bones in pose mode and you'll see a grey axis for each leg bone). The limit option becomes available under the 'armature bones' panel when there is an IK solver effecting the bone.
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  12. #192
    Hello guys, I thought you may be interested in this rig:
    http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=161257

    Comments are really welcomed.
    Last edited by JiriH; 01-Aug-09 at 07:00.



  13. #193
    Member Holmen's Avatar
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    Hi guys.
    I just posted my human rig witch I have been using in a game project.
    In case you feel like taking a look please do
    http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=163831



  14. #194
    I'm trying to make a bendy IK chain, but am getting a B-Bone problem I can't figure out. All the bones have their roll zeroed out, their In and Out settings consistent, and are parented in a long chain, but they don't form one continuous curve like I'd expect. Note especially the weird bend between arm1 and arm2.

    On a sort of related topic, has anyone done any rigging with actual Curves?
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  15. #195
    Member GordGoodwin's Avatar
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    Well I don't know exactly how to get a smooth curve in this setup, I'd have to think more about it... but I can point out a few things for you.

    The in and out handles I find tend to effect the edges more. So the more segments you have, the more extreme bending you will experience around the ends of the bone. If you turn down the segmentation of each bone to 2, it will ironically produce a smoother result. Because the 'in' handle represents one segment, and the 'out' value the other. For example with 3 you'll often get a kink at the end...

    Also, the bend of the B-Bones is determined by the connected parent/child relationship, which I'm sure you are aware of already. But the top of the chain is parented into a bone that does not move, so the curve tends to want to go straight on the left side. And this is where I'm stumped at the moment, because I think you would need a bone that moves in the opposite direction to determine the curve... and I can't think offhand how it could be done. My best suggestion is just to unparent it, but that only produces 50% of what you're after, it will still need to be influenced in the opposite direction.

    I have messed around with using curves and bones, but have not achieved anything significant. It seems that if it is possible to use bones and curves together, it wouldn't be worth it because you would have so many dependency cycles to tiptoe around, and most of the results you would need it for can be done in other ways.

    The only use I have seen of curves for rigging would be using the curve modifier directly on the mesh in order to deform it, as was done for the tail on Frankie in BBB.

    I'm interested to hear if there is a way to get this B-Bone setup to produce an even curve...
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  16. #196
    Really strange. It's vexing! I guess it's just due to my assuming things about how B-Bones work, though.

    That demo is really interesting, it gives me some major ideas.

    Besides MCHammond's leg rig and floating deformer bones like in the Suzanne Rig, what other ways have people rigged bendy limbs? I haven't come across any others in the Community Rig List, but haven't gotten through many of them yet.



  17. #197
    Member GordGoodwin's Avatar
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    There aren't a whole lot of bendy rigs out there right now in Blender, to my knowledge. The mancandy and George rig by JiriH use lattices. Freakydude's white nelb, and my suzanne rig use free-form bones (which so far is my personal favorite approach to stretchy, and could likely be improved using a meshdeformer). Then there are the rigs that you pointed out, like the Max rig by Cesio and the splineIK pencil by Kiopaa.

    It would certainly be interesting to see some arms and legs done with the curve modifier... is that what you're considering?
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  18. #198
    Yeah -- like, using a bunch of small bones, parents to a bunch of empties, which are Hooks on a Curve, which directly modifies the mesh. It works, but the question is how to manage the control bones to automatically make a reliable 'bend' shape..!

    (I hadn't thought of lattices, either -- maybe they're a more controllable option.)

    Late last night I came across a tutorial for doing a bendy arm in Maya, looks like the rigs in other packages with bendy limbs use more scripting than I'd expected. It freaked me out at first, but looking at it again, it seems simpler than I'd thought.

    It's essentially a pair of curves and hooks, with the deform bone chains parented along the curves. Setting up the deformation would be pretty roundabout, maybe using two sets of curves, but making the curve automatically bend seems like it might not even need a pyConstraint!



  19. #199
    Bunny, if you are looking for a bendy rig, did you see my solution for bendy legs ? here.



  20. #200
    That's a really nice method, like the Crayon rig! It even recognizes the 'knee' controller's rotation, which is something I wanted!

    I think I need it to be subdivided once, so there'd be three controllers (like CMD.L/R) per leg, to be able to do a really round 'C' shape. I'm going to play with this setup -- thanks, Kiopaa!



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