Is it me? Beginning rigging seems really finicky, can't get tutorial results.

After really trying many times to get the results shown in what, in fairness, really seems a very clear and well done tutorial, my guesses are that a) making mistakes and then undoing/redoing when extruding new bones often leaves little ghost bones or other traces that mess stuff up, b) order of operations is really critical, and maybe c) i need a new graphics card.
I think i’m too new to link to the tut - it’s Sebastian Lague’s Basics of Character Rigging on YouTube…
I finally got the IK bones to work they way he shows, but it took me like a dozen tries and so far i can’t reproduce the result.
Normally i do fine following tutorial instructions. Is there anything i should be bearing in mind? Is this a temporary issue in this build? Am i destined to go insane?

Please help. Much love.

The video goes through a series of rigging technique that can all have different common problems.
In order problems should be solved before moving on to the next step.
You should post your results or list the problems you are having.

It was going fine until i created the IK bones. They rarely work and can have a variety of problems. Sometimes after setting up the IK bones for the leg, the foot is detached and doesn’t affect the rest of the leg. If i redo the parenting (select foot then leg IK, ctrl P > keep offset, select foot then lower leg ctrl P> connected) it doesn’t help. Other possibilities are the leg IK doesn’t rotate the foot, the knee won’t bend, the knee bends at a weird angle, the knee pole target doesn’t work, or any of these, but on the arm. Once, by deleting limbs and doing them over a few times, i got it to work. I have figured out that by checking the outliner window i can make sure the parenting is correct, and by checking the bone modifier tab of the properties window i can check that the targets and chain length are right. But that can all check out and the rig still won’t work.

That’s why i started guessing - once when trying to figure it out i realized there were extra, invisible bones in the armature, so i redid the bones. I had pressed shift A too long and created doubles without realizing it, or i clicked right instead of clicking left when extruding a bone and then didn’t realize that left a ghost bone. So i learned to check the outliner for double bones. I tried to move on to mirroring the arm and leg onto the right side and realized my model was oriented along the y axis, not the x axis, so i turned it. Maybe that can cause problems, i don’t know, i did that last thing last night.

Yes, rigging can be finicky. You don’t have ghosts, but the order you do things is sometimes critical.

One of the important things he does not mention in the video is making sure your mesh and your armature have a common object location. He shows this, when he shows his model, but doesn’t make a point of it. It is pretty easy to move either of those by moving things in object mode rather than edit mode.

It’s also important to have your mesh scale and rotation applied, so your mesh begins the rigging process showing a scale of 1,1,1 and a rotation of 0,0,0.

He doesn’t pay too much attention to bone rotation, except when he fixes the odd deformation at the shoulders, but to get good results, bone rotation should be taken into consideration, and your bones’ rotations can differ substantially from his depending on how you actually add the bones to your armature.

Oops, sorry, apparently you do have ghost bones. (just saw your 12:12 post)

So, post a blend with a description of the problems you are having. There is a lot to go awry in rigging, and unfortunately there is a lot of set up that many riggers gloss over because they think, of course, everybody knows to do THAT (and they really don’t unless someone points it out to them.)

Thanks, Orinoco. I checked the rotation and scale of the mesh, it’s okay. I’ve gotten used to placing the 3D cursor using the 1,3,7 axis views on the numpad, so the bones have been extruded well aligned to the mesh - if i understand your point about common object mode. I have also gotten used to extruding bones only when in numpad 1 view, so they won’t end up a bit twisted.

I think it boils down to a problem with parenting the foot. He says to first alt P > clear parenting on the legIK bone, then select the foot and then the leg IK, ctrl P> keep offset. He shows in the video (at 6:55 min) how that allows the legIK bone to be used to rotate the foot. Almost every time i do it, after this setup legIK doesn’t rotate anything. The foot is left parented to legIK instead of the lower leg like it should be, and nothing happens. If i fix the parenting, the IK bone constraint set up between the lower leg and the leg IK works, but the foot won’t rotate.
I seem to have ironed out the other problems by getting used to making bones more precisely- avoiding twists, aborted extrudes, and extraneous hopping around within and amongst programs. Sebastian suggests a work-around for the foot problem in his FAQ in the comment under the video, but i’ve tried it a couple of times and it hasn’t worked for me.

new character3.blend (1.41 MB)

Oooh… post the blend file… coool…

IK targets are detatched from the chains they control, so it is not usually a good idea to parent the foot bone to the leg’s IK target (unless you’re going to do a cool foot-roll rig, but that doesn’t appear to be what’s going on here). For a simple rig like this, just parent the foot to the LowerLeg bone.

In the long run, it’s usually best to make a duplicate of the entire leg-to-foot-chain that simply copies the rotations of the IK chain, and use that as the deforming bones, but perhaps that’s a lesson for another day. :eyebrowlift: For now just parent that foot to the lower leg and you’ll be fine. Once you’ve mastered this rig, look into the Humane Rigging tutorial series.

Here’s the good news: your normals are fine! The bad news:
You’ve got doubles.
You have not applied the scale on you character.
The topology is an excellent attempt, but it will not work with a rig. You will be doomed for bone crushed crushing deformities.

Turn on smooth shading, you see all those imperfections, that’s topology. At first I thought it was just normals that needed to be recalculated, but it actually is real. If your chacater doesn’t look smooth without a rig, then it won’t ever deform correctly with one. You have taken a really important step forward in modeling the character yourself.

If you want to jump into rigging and animating, there are lots of great models on blendswap:

Also blendercookie has wonderful tutorial on topology and character design.

Good luck.

Oh… ok, i kind of get it…
blenderallday, i believe you thus explain the problem i had next - when i tried to parent the armature to the mesh, it turned all melty like a bad day on the Enterprise’s transporter.
I’ll go back to the thread on that problem and mention that. I wanted more practice in making figures from simple tools before moving on in the Noob to Pro handbook, because i had a feeling i’d forget stuff otherwise. Also the simple rig i made from bones chapter of the handbook didn’t work, so i went looking for more info. I’ll take your advice and find a premade model to practice with for now. Sebastian’s, i guess.
K Horseman - another day indeed. I looked at Humane Rigging once. I balked at the price of 27 Euros, but now i see there is a download only option for 2.50 Euros, which isn’t a big deal. I’d say they should make that lower price option a lot more visible.

ps - okay, so Humane Rigging was 25 Euros - the 2.50 was the discount for not wanting the DVD… alright, i bit the bullet anyhow. I suppose they don’t sell a lot of copies. But it better be really good…
Just to say, i DID donate to the blender foundation when i downloaded the program. Not the kind of dough one pays for Photoshop or something, but enough that if everyone did so, the blender peeps would be looked after. Viva la revolution.