Animating\rigging idles

Hello dear BA. I have stuck at some point. I need to make lot of Idle animations for character with different poses. I would like idles to be loop animations. And also i would like to have natural movements. Of course I could manually edit each bone with lot of keyframes, with hundrets counter-motions (secondary motions, inertia) and so on. But i instead I would like to find best way to maximum automate this process. So i’ve made rig setup with additional objects to move some bones like IK-hands using physic simulation or even slow parent feature. I have made more or less acceptible automatic secondary motions for limbs - hands and feet. But i have stuck with torso. My character Torso consists of four spine bones parented to IK-hip bone. My idea is to make set of idle loops by animating only one hips bone. Rest bones should be animated automaticly. But if I animate hips - whole torso is animated as well and this is looking rigid and unnatural. Is there some good tutorial how to rig torso bone chains from hips up to head - to make it move natural by transforming hips bone. So for example if I rotate hip bone by x axis rest spine bones compensating this transormation making illusion that character trying to keep ballance.

One more question: when I hit twice R i have get trackball mode rotating bone in two axes, it may give good looking transormations especially on hip bones. But how can I animate bone in that way by adding keyframes? There should be a way to make smooth animation of this kind of transormations. I would like to see some tutorials but can’t find any.

Sorry for my English.

You’ve got a good idea there. Maybe it looks odd because of your spine setup. If the spine is a chain of four FK bones going up from the hips, that makes the hip bone the “root” of your chain, so it is basically the rotational center of the torso.

Stand up and dance like someone is rotating your hip bone the way you have it set up in your rig. If you do it quickly you will probably notice that your hips want to go in the opposite direction of the rest of your torso. Almost as if your center of gravity is higher than your hips! I recommend making your rig like this, with a control bone at the center of gravity (sort of behind the belly button) which is the parent of the rest of your spine. The Hip bone goes down from that center, and the other three bones in the spine go up.

1 Like

Thank you for idea. I have missed this point - center of torso transformations should be placed higher than hips. This should make movements more realistic. Also i have found the way to add some delay for spine bones. Adding driver expression which delayng children transformations. So tweaking delay for each bone via driver expression will give me even more realism, like spreading inertia from center transformation - higher bones should have more delay. This way i can easily create more or less nice idles with minimum efforts. When i will finish my rig and test it in different conditions i will upload if anyone will be interested.

But I still cant figure out how to get smooth transformation for control bone making it rotating in two axes (trackball mode). Only way i found is to use damped track constraint. Control bone facing target bone head. Rotating target bone will give me transformations I need for control bone. But problem is this setup will work only for one direction. Or I will need to make two additional target bones for each axis and switch constraints for one or other pose. Not very handy. Easpecially it difficult to align damped track constraints targets for different poses.

Some bones are easier to animate if you change the rotation mode from ‘quaternion’ to ‘XYZ Euler’ or something. Then it’s easier to keyframe the rotation of the control bone directly in the graph editor. An idle character probably rocks back and forth a little on the X axis as they breathe, with some slow random motion in the Y and Z axes as well

1 Like