Animation through control object with custom attribues

I have been searching around for days, but didn’t find any answer to this. The usual workflow of animating in maya, would involve a control object with custom attributes that control the animation.

This have many benefits. For starters, all relevant animations are in one easy to find place. Secondly, you can control actions a lot faster. For example, I have a hand control object where via driven keys (kind of like blender’s drivers) I can control the finger curl through a single attribute. If I want, I can control the curling of all five fingers with a single attribute. Setting this up, is extremely easy.

Is there something like that in blender, or do I have to manually rotate each and every bone of all fingers?

Blender’s drivers can probably do something similar. The amount of challenge in setting this up will be related directly to the number of controls you want to influence a given set of bones and the complexity of the interaction.

As far as I know Blender does not have any wizards or templates setup for doing these kinds of actions so all the wiring is manual.

With constraints, you can set up a single control that will cause (for instance) all the fingers to curl together into a grip, or the head to remain level while the trunk rotates, etc. These 3 videos cover it pretty well, especially the 2nd & 3rd:

Kastoria: That’s what I thought but I found Blender’s Drivers severely limited. At first I thought I just don’t get how to properly use them, but the fact that I couldn’t find a single tutorial on the net on how to utilize them like that, made me believe they are as limited as they seem.

John: Thanks for the links, it is not exactly what I was looking for I’m afraid. Other 3d software feature constraints as well, but custom attributes that can control SEVERAL actions through several transform nodes of several objects on several different scenarios, are far more elegant and opens much more possibilities. It’s a pity because other than this, I have found rigging in Blender as as much powerful, but easier, more straightforward and fun than Maya’s.

Check out some of Max Hammond’s (MCHammond) rigs. He may have some more comprehensive tutorials.

I don’t think the drivers are limited, I think they are very powerful. But it is true that there are not a lot of tutorials on drivers floating around. I think it is just a bit to close to “scripting” for a lot of people’s comfort. I think I saw a tutorial on CG Cookie about them and even in the tutorial the guy said, “ok, I really don’t know what this field is but if you type these numbers in it all works.”

I think drivers would be much more accessible if they could be setup though nodes.