Generic character rigged - suggestions?

UPDATE from WIP Character thread:

I’ve built a rig for 'Arvey Kaye, my generic character.

He has all the usual bones plus eyelid bones and a bone to drive the bottom teeth. He still has a bunch of RVKs set for facial movement. The eyes are not parented yet but are animated via an empty. Some weight painting has been applied but not completed.

I’d like someone to take a look at him and see if…
1:the rig is worth continuing with, or
2: The RVKs should be abandoned so the mesh can be modified to better suit the rig (arm/leg bends), or
3: Major rework is needed
*I want to keep him 2.37a compliant at this stage.

If my vertex groups remain, I can easily put up with resetting RVKs as required if this means getting a more functional rig. Suggestions, assistance welcome.

Blend here:

When completed he is intended for open, non-commercial use. More info/history here:
https://blenderartists.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=53407&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

Okay, a few things I noticed right off the bat.

  1. You didn’t use my hand solution. :stuck_out_tongue:

  2. When his chin goes down in some of your RVKs, his bottom teeth don’t!

  3. I wish I could model a face like that.

  4. The eye tracker empty doesn’t seem to be working.

  5. The shoulder area, when he raises he hand way up, is kinda sketchy.

  6. The spine only bends backwards.

Nice character, man. I’m sure many people will love you for providing this character when he’s done. (Me included.)

Remember I’ve only got the basics of rigging down. I guess I should own up to that. :wink: So to me, the rig set up looks like it’s worth continuing. (I would try to rig the face using bones. But that’s just me.)

LGM

LGM there is sumin new for your hand solution, use hinges the work great, they are in blender 2.4 alpha 2.

  1. You didn’t use my hand solution.

Hmmm, I don’t recall your hand solution but at his stage, this is almost exactly Gabio’s basic tutorial setup (I think he does go one to parent all finger bones but I haven’t, yet). I did notice that in this setup, the pointy end of each finger is rigid. As I recall, the cartoon hand tute (in the docs) had the solvers as null bones on the finger tips. So I’ll go back to your previous link and look at the docs and see what compromises evolve from that.

  1. When his chin goes down in some of your RVKs, his bottom teeth don’t!

I haven’t re-keyed the jaw bone since joining the armatures so the pre-set animation is kinda whacky.

  1. I wish I could model a face like that.

Aw, shucks :expressionless: I’m sure you can - he was just a box once. In fact, I have some minor issues with him that I think I did better in my Weekend Challenge entry (which was modelled in a fraction of the time too!)

  1. The eye tracker empty doesn’t seem to be working.

I’ll have look tonight. It’s not a tracker though, it’s a rotator. Rotate it and the eyes should rotate too. One thing I like about this is that at any point, I can just clear rotation and the eyes look straight again but it’s difficult to control exactly where he’s looking. He’ll definitely end up with a tracking bone or something. This was only a temporary solution used for my earlier Quicktime test.

  1. The shoulder area, when he raises he hand way up, is kinda sketchy.

Still? :frowning: Bummer! I repainted it all but I think the root of the bone is out of position - too low maybe, so when it rotates, it deforms unevenly. I don’t know if I can move the bone now or if I have to un-parent it all to make that kind of adjustment or do I delete the vertex group, move the bone then reset the group?

  1. The spine only bends backwards.

6: Oh? I hadn’t tested that. I know it shifted when I set the IKs but I haven’t tried bending it yet. I’ll compare with Gabio’s rig and see if I’ve mucked something up. Suggestions?

Nice character, man. I’m sure many people will love you for providing this character when he’s done. (Me included.) Remember I’ve only got the basics of rigging down. I guess I should own up to that. So to me, the rig set up looks like it’s worth continuing. (I would try to rig the face using bones. But that’s just me.)

Thanks for your assistance throughout (and in the future :slight_smile: ). I may end up using bones in the face but I’ll probably wait for 2.4x before going there. The bone-driven shape-keys sound like something I’d enjoy working with.

Good call, Haker! I hadn’t thought of the hinges for the wrist.

I doubled checked the shoulder. Only the right one still has issues. The left one is fine. Sorry about that.

Ah, an eye rotator, I see now. One thing about the eye tracker is that it should be a bone. I used to use an empty and it was such a pain to leave pose mode, move the empty, go back to pose mode, animate the bones . . . now in 2.4 though, you don’t have to leave pose mode. Still, it’s nice to keep it all in one object. I’m sure you’ve already thought of this, but it’s nice to be doubley sure.

Suggestion for the spine: right now it’s curving backwards, model it curving forwards slightly. When you straighten it, the guy’ll have a curving (“s”) back, and when you push forward it’ll curve the right way.

Sure! I suddenly realized that I’ve been predominately the only person replying, and I know how annoying it can be when only one person continually replies and you don’t get as many differing opinions to choose the best from.

LGM

(As recompense, you can help me with my modelling as I’m starting a new character soon.)

Hi andyD

I’m looking at your rig atm and have some advices for you.

First I’m sorry to tell you that you’ll have to scrap everything for 2.40:
-The rig, because all the heavy tricks you learned are now useless.
-The RVK, if you say so. Though i found them ok.
-most of the knowledge you got from my tuts.

It’s been a long time, a year tomorow actually. And now with more experience, and after having actually tried to animate with such a rig, I can tell you that this rig example is way to much trouble for nothing.

Can you easilly drive your fingers? I was never able to get a good looking animation when each finger had a iksolver. it’s insane! The arm are also a place where i don’t use Ik solver anymore. You’ll discover that when you really start using this rig, it’s way better when you do it in FK. For the rare occasions you need ik on arm, just put a ik solver there with influence 0, and turn it up to 1 when you need it.

This will at the same occasion give you the opportunity to remove the floating bone for the other ik in the middle of the chain. The new system don’t even need that. It’s almost impossible to bend it backward now, Even wthout limit.

As mentionned the Back is kind of screwed as soon as you move Back target or pelvis. I’v stopped using this method when I fighted for 2 days to get a good looking walkcycle.

As you want this to remain 2.37 compliant you can do the following:
-remove ik from the fingers. it’s better to drive them in FK. Or better apply an action constraint on them driven by the rotation of the first bone of the chain. so rotating it will “rool” the finger in a close position
-Remove ik frome the Arms.
-Remove ik from the Back and pelvis. They are nice toys, but really useless when animating.
-dunno if it was said, but when moving the mouth with the bone, only the theeth are moving. try to get the mouth to follow too, it will look way better. You can do that by joining the theeth in you character and fully weighting it to 1 to the mouth bone.

Again i’m sorry for the tuts.
You can rejoice though, as i’m actually rewriting it from scratch for 2.4
expect an update in less than a week.

Good day.

Hey Gabio, don’t ever apologise for writing tutorials. Blender users around the world would be stuffed without them - and everyone knows that as Blender progresses, the tutes get quickly outdated.

I know that some of your methods differed to others but the fundamentals are there for 2.37a. Whether to keep or lose some aspects is a matter of learning and I couldn’t learn it properly without doing it.

I did wonder about the fingers and actions seems like a good answer. As you say, it doesn’t matter because it’s all changing. But that’s fine too.

I don’t want to switch too soon because I’m easily frustrated by bugs :slight_smile: and if you’re unfamiliar with Blender basics, it’s hard to tell when it’s a bug and when it’s just ignorance (and I see a lot of experienced users scratching their heads wondering where their favourite features went!). I wanted to get a grip on the current system so I could better understand the new system when I switch. I do like the sound of driven keys and stuff and I might get hold of a copy of 2.4 soon just to start tinkering.

I had read somewhere elese that many people use FK for arms and Ik for legs. Maybe I’ll look at that too.

I don’t care if it all gets junked it’s just experience. It’s much easier to learn when you’ve got a real project than just reading tutes and trying bits and pieces. I would like to get just one short animation out of him though before I do a bone-ectomy on him :slight_smile:

Now that I think about it, if someone wants to make him 2.4 compatible, why not? Go for it.

The only reason I mentioned losing the RVKs was if I needed to alter the mesh for any reason. I’m happy with them otherwise. Does RVK work much the same in 2.4 and can existing RVKs be used in the new bone-driven shape keys?

I was considering adding vertex groups for the jaw bone to match the teeth (In fact, they were there anyway from the parenting but I think 'I deleted them because the chin is currently modified with RVK anyway). I’ll have a look at that as I continue to mess with it.

Thanks for the tips. I promise I’ll start looking at 2.4 soon (“resistance is useless!”). Is it almost ready for final release yet?

OKAY! I GIVE IN.

I’ve downloaded Blender 2.4 alpha. I had to update my OS first so I hope you guys appreciate my sacrifice! (Wow - I can actually read the names of bones. Terrific, I like it already!)

So, I will now edit 'Arvey Kaye, my generic character, in the current version. Of course, this means I need more help, advice and tutorials for all the new ways to do stuff.

I’d be more than happy for someone to remake or modify the existing rig to comply :slight_smile:

In the meantime, I’ll see what I can work out.

Actually I looked at your rig in blender 2.4 alpha 2. RVK still work the same, though it’s even more easy.
you can get a face deformed by bones and by rvk at the time. just don’t do the same action twice.

Wow Gabio, you’re extremely fast! You posted within 1 minute of my last post! :slight_smile:

Well, I’ve had a short play with the armature in 2.4 and Wow! Thanks for talking me into it (all those who did).

I’ve now made eye bones and got them parented and I’ve parented the top teeth (I’d never actually connected them to anything since the head never moved before). Next I’ll make a follow bone for the eyes then concentrate on getting the head to work nicely. Then I’ll move onto the body (about which I’m less confident).

The new selction and editing processes for bones are a breeze and YOU CAN ROTATE THE WINDOW VIEW WHILE THE ANIMATION PREVIEW IS PLAYING IN IT!!! I found that out by accident :slight_smile:

It’s like Christmas in November.

EDIT:
I’ve added a track bone for the eyes and it seems to work well. I’ve renamed the “chin” vertex group to TeethBottom so it now deforms with the jaw bone (TeethBottom bone).

His facial movement is now back to where it was before. (phee-ew!)

I just need to add a track bone for his head movements and his top-end will be quite functional.

Blender need a little dummy character to work with. Like the blue dude from maya. Continue the good work.

See, see, I told you I was a noob at rigging. :stuck_out_tongue:

Actually, Gabio, I can’t see how FK can be better on a spine. I really like being able to move the waist independently from the shoulders. I suppose that’s where an animated IK constraint would come in. Also, the IK constraint for the arms allows the body to move while keeping the arm stationary (for instance, levering yourself up). Yeah, I can see pros and cons for both ways.

Anyway, I’m really lookin’ forward to your upcoming tutorial.

LGM

I think the orange dude from Project Orange would be a great model for new animators to learn to rig and animate. I personally am liking shape keys better since they can be controlled with guitargeeks widget controller script. :smiley:

Can constraints be animated in and out (influence?). If so, would it possible to, for example, constrain a hand to a desk using an empty (copy location) but have that constraint removed when you want to move the arm around?

If so, the empty could then be moved to another location and have the hand reach out to it to pick something up. I assume that’s how this is achieved but have never seen how to do it.

Gabio, it was Generi, the “little blue guy” who inspired me to start this character. The vast majority of animations in the 10 Second Club challenges use that character. He’s a very simple looking model but they really squeeze some good stuff out of him. I’m not aware of any similar stock model, with full facial and body animation, made specifically for Blender - not yet anyway.

http://orange.blender.org/blog/licence-to-drive

This guy!

Ahh yes, I remember him - but when I began this project I was targetting 2.37a. Now I’ve downloaded 2.4 I guess I can download Orange Guy and use him as a guide for 'Arvey Kaye.

The guy in the Orange blog still use a rig with some pre-2.40 technic.
edit: And it’s too heavy to play with as a practice tool. Rigging it is fun animating it is quite challenging.
So you want to practice animation or rigging?

Animation is the important thing for my guy. All he needs is a rig that will give him a good range of movements.

Gabio, if you look at my character in 2.4 and turn on “Axes” view for the armature, you can see that many bones have their Z-axis pointing forward. I was trying to apply some rotation constraints to elbow and wrist but it never worked as expected and I think this might be why.

I can’t see any way to re-align these bones with Z-up. Any suggestions? Other than the brief overview in the release logs, do you know of any information on the new system?

Have you tried Ctrl-N in edit mode?

%<

Have you tried Ctrl-N in edit mode?

Yep. No joy. They move but Z faces forward and X upward. If I clear rotation in pose mode, the same occurs.

I might try rebuilding the armature from the ground up but I need to see how or why the new system differs from what I learned of the old system last week so I don’t just end up with what I already have…