deform cage

Is it necessary to make a deform cage in order to animate?
I am wanting to animate a spider model I made. I am watching some tutorials on rigging, and a deform cage is being used in the tutorial, but I am thinking that a deform cage is only needed for smooth bending. (?) In the case of a spider, I do not think I care about smooth bending as the leg joints should bend rather sharply.

So, my main question is: Is a deform cage a necessary element of animation (i.e. can I animate without it?).

Also, any advice, tips are appreciated. This is my first attemt at animation, and you would know I would have to choose something as complicated as a spider!

I don’t even know what a deform cage is! Couldn’t you just use some bones??

Yeah. I am new to this. Just downloaded Blender (2.56) about two weeks ago. So I am kinda lost. I was just going along with what the guy in the tutorial was doing. Now, after looking into it some more, I am guessing I can just weight paint my mesh to the bones? Idk. Imma try that.
Anyone who wants to add something here… please do.

For a ‘first’ character, I’d just use bones and weight paint, you’ll need an armature modifier on the mesh to tell the mesh to be deformed by the armature. The deform cage you mention is a bit more of an advanced rigging technique that is useful for volume preservation, think ‘fat’ characters. It is really useful in places where you would want a smooth bend in the character mesh. Spider legs are thin and bend sharply at the joints, perfect for just using an armature & bones.


Randy. Hey. It was your tutorial I was watching! I am having some trouble, though. I made the model, textured it, made the armature.
When I try weight painting, I select the armature and go into pose mode, select a bone, which then gets highlighted to blue, just like in your video. But when I select the mesh, or shift-select the mesh, the whole armature turns orange and I do not see the single bone I selected highlighted in blue anymore. The whole armature turns orange the instant I shift select the mesh to do weight paint. Also, the bones don’t move anything when I try moving them like yours do in the video.
Is there a step by step, simple version of this for 2.56? I don’t know what I am doing wrong.
I added an armature modifier before weight painting. I tried applying after weight painting and tried applying it before weight painting… makes no difference.
By the way, I like your “cartoonish fish” tutorials. I refer to them often. Thanks for making them.

Nevermind. I got it. Not 100% certain what I did, but everything is working as it should now. Thanks.

Can you upload the .blend file? If it’s too large to attach to a post here, upload it someplace else (like and post a link, I’ll take a look at it. From what you’ve described, you are doing all the steps correctly and I can’t ever remember having the problem with the bone turning orange…
Thanks for reminding me, I need to finish that fish project, I kinda got sidetracked… :frowning:


eidt: just read your most recent post…glad you got it!

@ revolt_randy … Dude, the thing I like best about your video tutorials is that you screw up.
That is probably the most common thing newbies (I am chief among them) do.
But… then you fix everything and explain how you do it. That is outstandably the greatest thing about your vids!
Is that something you do intentionally? If so, you deserve an Oscar! (I think you plan it) But it’s great that you explain how to deal with “elfin mistakes!” because new people constantly make them and someone has to show us how to fix them. Unfortunately, there are too many tutorials out there that appear on second or third view to be mere boasting grounds. I am glad that you are not trying to be a Blender super hero, that your intention is to share the wealth of knowledge you have thusfar obtained. That makes you boss, my man.
You need to show us that finished cartoonished fish!