Ludwig: Fully Rigged Character + Walk Cycle Tutorial

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Hello fellow blenderheads,

Ludwig is a character that I’ve been working on for the past several months. I originally started Ludwig when I began to get interested in lipsync. It occured to me that the Blender community does not have any free characters and rigs that are quite to the level of characters such as Generi (for Maya). Thus, I built Ludwig with the goal of him becoming Blender’s “Generi”. It is my hope that providing this character to the community will allow Blender users to compete in competitions such as the 10 Second Club on an equal footing with those using expensive proprietary software.

To give some credit where credit is due: Ludwig wouldn’t be what he is today without the excellent feedback from LGM. He’s been testing the Ludwig rig since before Ludwig could move his face ;). Also, I can’t claim that everything that went into the rig was my idea. I took alot of inspiration from Nozzy’s “Skinny Guy” and Slikdigit’s “Mancandy”.

So have fun! Lets see some animations!

Known bug: If you turn Ludwig’s head or torso so that he is looking backwards, the facial controls become inverted. No big deal really, but something to be aware of.


Update!!! Walk Cycle Tutorial

LGM has put together a very detailed and indepth tutorial on making Ludwig walk. You can view the tutorial online here:
Learning to Walk

Or download the entire tutorial here:
Learning to Walk (Download)

The following is the official press release for Ludwig:

Ludwig is a fully rigged and animation ready character for Blender. His features include IK/FK arms, stretch and squash head and spine, and a lip sync ready face controlled by a custom UI. Ludwig was created to provide the Blender community with a high-quality humanoid rig and to promote Blender as a character animation tool.

The Ludwig rig and model were created by Jason Pierce. Extensive testing and feedback was done by Nathan Dunlap.

Ludwig was not designed with the beginner animator in mind. While every attempt was made to keep the controls as user-friendly as possible, functionality was put ahead of ease of use (personal preference played a role as well). That being said, someone new to animation shouldn’t have much trouble getting this rig to do what they want it to do. Most of Ludwig’s functions are accessible and intuitive.

Ludwig’s rig may be used royalty-free for both commercial and noncommercial applications. The Ludwig character may only be used for noncommercial purposes.

Download Ludwig at

Wow! Huge thanks for this sketchy.

If you don’t mind, I may add him to the next CJ. That OK with you?

Again, big thanks.


Way to go, you guys! :smiley:

I’m currently rendering some stuff… Once that’s done I’ll give this guy a test.

Oh men, this is great! Mile stone in Blender-animation-learning
Big pleasure for our community, thanks! :slight_smile:

:o Great work !!! THX for sharing with us !!!

Thanks a ton. This will help me alot with learning animation. :smiley:

Cool! Can i use him too?!?!?!?


Awwww, you didn’t add the puff-cheeks. Oh well. You know what I think about him. I think he’s awesome. Next best thing to sliced bread.

I just wanted to point out that the lipsync animation was done with an earlier version of ludwig, so the version for download has a more flexible mouth (notably in the pucker shape). :wink:

Here’s an animation of his face with the current version.

Razz :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m glad you made this character, sketchy, and I’m glad I was able to help. I learned so much just testing him.


Sketchy - thanks for puttin your time and skills into your posts so others can get a better understanding of animation and your approach to it :slight_smile:

This may be a bit much to ask, but is there any chance of you doing a video tut on how you did this. Not even a tutorial really, more just watching you do it as it’s done with some narration. I was completely astounded by it, and I would hope I can see it done during the process by which it is done.

Very good work, sketchy - I really like this rig, because I think it is well balanced between diversity and simplicity. Thanks for sharing!

fantastic… it works wonderfully… very well done!

superficially, to animate it, it is super simple, I positively LOVE the marionette interfaces for facial expressions and hand gestures… with that said, underneath in the mechanics of how it works, to me anyway, it feels quite complex as there are many things I don’t understand how they have been accomplished… . I have much to study and learn from this!

thanks for letting us use ludwig and learn with it!

Wonderful. Just wonderful. Many thanks. This really is a great gift to the community!!! Thanks, thanks, thanks!!!


How is the face done? There are bones, but how can you limit how much they affect the eye, for example? It seems to stop moving it in certain point. And it doesnt have constraints, and I didnt find any actions that would be triggered by the movement of the bone…

BgDM: Thanks and you’re welcome! Feel free to put Ludwig in the CJ.

Calvin: Thanks dude. Haven’t talked to you in awhile. Hope things are going well for you.

Greg_pl: Milestone is maybe an exaggeration :D. Glad you like it

Jedrzej_s: You’re quite welcome. Thanks for replying :slight_smile:

sh33p: Cool. Best of luck in your animation learning endeavors.

Enriq: Actually, if you look closely at the license, it clearly says “Anyone may download and use this resource except for Enriq766”. So sorry bro :D.

LGM: !!! I forgot to add the cheek controls!!! Bleh, they’ll be there next version (you know I can’t go for too long without changing something). You gotta stop being so down on your lipsync test. I think it looks great (especially considering how fast you put it together, and the fact that you didn’t have full lip controls back then).

deltawing: You’re welcome. I hope you can get lots of use out of it.

DarkSeraphim: Actually, that is too much to ask. Not because I’m mean or stingy or anything like that. But you have to understand that this took hours to build. It has been my experience that rigging is mostly trial and error (which doesn’t translate very well to a tutorial). If you’re serious about learning rigging in Blender (or any other app), my advice is to look at any rig you can get your hands on. Take them apart and study them; try to replicate them piece by piece. After awhile you will develope your own bag of tricks.

thoro: Thanks! I tried to make the rig as flexible and reusable as possible.

patrick7: I like that description: “superficially, to animate it, it is super simple , with that said, underneath in the mechanics of how it works, to me anyway, it feels quite complex”. I think that is an important aspect of rigging. The animator needs a simple interface, but the rigger may need to deal with alot of complexity to achieve the simplicity. The trick is then to hide the implementation as much as possible. Reminds me very much of object oriented programming in that respect.

Jerri: You’re many times welcome :D.

Falgor: The facial controls are IPO drivers. These drivers drive both shapekeys and other bones. If you haven’t found it yet, look at the armature that is hidden on layer 11. That will reveal alot.

By the way, I didn’t say much about the low poly maquette on layer 3. It is really helpful for the ealier stages of animation, when you don’t particularly want to deal with the little details yet.

Thanks everyone for you kind words!

Wow !

Thanks very much Sketchy !

Can you tell me what tools /methods you use for lip sync with this character?

I’ve got both the Magpie and papagayo demo programs but I’m not sure how to use either of them to ‘hook into’ your model … if it’s possible ?


Mike: with a little bit of effort you can use the papagayo import script. What you’d have to do is create a mesh that has vertices located at each of Lud’s face controls (we’ll call this the control mesh). Then vertex parent each control to its vertex in the control mesh. Now you can setup shape keys for the control mesh and the papagayo script will now work.

I tried the above and it didn’t work. See my post below.

The way that LGM did his lipsync test was by manually keying everything. He’s pretty good at it, and manual lipsyncing usually looks better anyway.

Ok, thanks for the idea, I’ll play around with it.


This is a pretty cool contribution to the community and much appreciated. I see you had to break free from your outdated fur library. :wink: I’ve checked it out for a few minutes and I noticed some room for improvement. I’m not saying in any way that it’s not a great rig, I really appreciate being able to check out top notch work. I’m just making some observations.

There is no floor constraint on the foot. This makes it a little more complicated to control the foot for animating walkcycles. I also noticed that the foot doesn’t deform properly when you pull it back, as the toes never bend. This will make for a more unrealistic walkcycle, as the character will be tiptoed during Contact and Recoil stages, or any other that require the bending of the toes for a more realistic walkcycle.

At first I was real curious as to why you did the hand setup like you did, and I see I have a few things to learn from what you setup. I really like that. I wasn’t too fond of the curl controls set off to the side like that, but then I got to playing around with it a bit and found it to be extreamly easy to use.

Other then that, I really enjoy having this in my arsenal of .blend’s for referance. Thanks a million, and can’t wait to see the next version.

Cool! Something to look forward too. As to the lipsync, I’m just not happy with the beginning.

BrianH: Floor constraints on the feet bring in other problems. You lose some freedom. Too much automation can be a bad thing. Besides. I can’t imagine that adding a floor constraint could be too hard. As for the toes, they do bend. Use the heelrotation bone for walk cycles. It’s so much faster. And one can manually bend the toes for any other position. Besides, when animating a walk cycle, for the most part one does the contact point first. So just slide the Foot_Root bone forwards or backwards on its local z-axis, then rotate the Ball_Heel_Rotation bone on it’s local x-axis and you’re great!

I was making a walkcycle tutorial for Ludwig, then thought maybe no one needs it. But maybe I should go ahead with it.

This rig may have some problems (lack of cheek bones being the only one I can find), but those are definately not some of them. Did you watch the example animations done with Ludwig? Did you see any “tiptoes” in the walks? Nope.