Animating a wyvern

I finished retopologizing this wyvern and I’m planing on rigging it and animating

here’s the model

Currently there are several seperate meshes and my main concern is which of those should i keep separated and which to combine into one. Right now theres an mesh for the exterior(includes body, arms, legs and head) claws which ill probably just combine with the exterior mesh and than theres the interior of the mouth which on its own has mesh for teeth, tounge and interior itself(gums, throat etc…). Also theres a seperate mesh for the wings which is just a wing shaped plane.

What im basiccaly asking is how would you generally procced right now;
do i keep the mouth/exterior meshes separated or do i combine them?,
do i keep the wings as planes or can i add volume to them and still be able to animate them relatively easy?


I would recommend having the whole mouth piece separate, it makes it easier to rig and weight paint if you need to. The whole body should be one solid mesh, about the wings, I don’t have allot of experience with those, but are you planning on adding cloth physics?

I was hoping to have wings as cloth physics cause it seems it would be pain in the ass to animate it with bones etc, but i dont know how realistic i could get with cloth physics in blendet utkeast until 2.8, but who knows when 2 8 is coming out

An update,

I began animating it, here are the pics

For the most part, everything moves as I want to, or at least well enough to be fixed fairly easily with weight painting. My main problem right now are again, those wings. No matter what I do in weight painting mode, I cannot seem to fix all the problems. I can make it look good but not in all the positions I require. I fix the problem on one end, and it makes another problem emerge on the other end. Any tips on animating them? anything at all, or do I just have to work with the weight painting until I get it all right. Right now the wings are separate objects, should i make it one solid mesh and connect the wings with the body?

Another thing is the tail, right now it wiggles in segments with transitions between bones being absolutely obvious. I haven’t even touched tail so far, its just autoweights, but I’m assuming that’s easily fixable with editing the weights?

Also any other tips on this, or any mistakes I made I’d appreciate the effort of pointing them out.

Thank you!

Ok, so I made the wings and body one single mesh and it did help. Made sure that wings are seamlessly connected with body not separated. For that I had to re-do the whole wing topology to make it fit with the bodies edge loops. If I had know from the start that I’d end up having wings and body as one solid piece I would’ve saved myself some time and approached it a bit differently, but doesn’t matter, you live you learn. That being said, it did help with rigging but most of those jagged, rough looking transitions on the wings still remained. But later I realized those were caused by the “bendy bones”; arm and forearm bones were segmented into 4 part which caused 4 different rotations alongside 1 bone. Reverting those to one segment per bone, it fixed the problem and from there on it was(and still is) matter of playing a bit in the weight paint editor. Wings are still not perfect, there’s more room for improvements and one weird artifact on the right wing that keeps popping in a few poses(see pictures below).

Also I played a bit with the tail, edited it a bit in weight paint editor, its no longer so jagged as in the pictures in previous post. Other than that, I added claws and tail spikes to the armature.

After I’m done fine tuning the rig, I’ll move onto shape keys to try and animate details like upper lip lifting(to show the upper teeth during animation), nostrils, brows and ears perhaps so I’m wondering if all of the fore mentioned are (relatively) easily doable with shape keys or would I be better of trying to animate some of them with bones?

Try adding a corrective smooth modifier after the armature modifier. It will really help with the deformations.

Basically what it does is it takes the mesh and shrinks it to help with joint intersections, then reapplies the details from the original or bound state.

Just be warned that shapekeys will be corrected as well (they gets smoothed by the modifier) so using helper bones is a better alternative then corrective shapes. Also, make sure to turn the corrective mod off when weight painting. It will skew the results making it look like the weights are good, when they are not.

The settings that I found to give the best results is to bind the mesh (Bind Coords) (instead of Original Coords) and Length Weight over Simple. When using Length Weight, the better the weighting is, the better the results will be.

For the odd part of the wing: Check the weights on those vertices in Edit mode. It looks like there are some rogue weights from the tail or spine that should not be there.

Looking good so far!

Good luck!

Thank you for the reply. You were right, there was a rouge weight; lower back bone had some weight applied to the wing were it shouldn’t have had.

A lot of those things you said I’ve never worked with but that’s ok, at least I’ll learn something new, after all that was the point of this project of mine. You gave me a lot of stuff to research into and hopefully I’ll make it work.