My First blender Rig, 'DJ LONG'

Hi guys,

I am a character animator (not a rigger yet… :wink: ) and am a new and fresh blenderhead. Just jumped into blender 2.5.

I created this character/rig. Very basic. Just sharing, as well as looking to improve my rigging skills. Please check it out.

dot blend for DJ LONG


lol, This is a nice rig! I’ve been meaning to practice some animation… This rig might give me the excuse I need. :wink:

One crit, though. And I speak as a guy who has done very little animation… I’m not a pro in any way. :wink: But it would be nice to be able to rotate the bone spine_root, and position the body. It’d give a lot more flexibility, I think. Does that make sense?

I like the pose, sure has a hip attitude… :slight_smile:

thanks for sharing!

Hey thax, its just an animator preference i guess… the spine root is to move and the spine base is for rotation of the spine keeps the graph editor stays clean, and this is what some animators prefer. however, you can unlock the transforms in the panel that you get if you hit ‘n’ key in the view port if you want.

Thanks for checking it out.

Namekuseijin, thanks!

One thing I would love to learn is to rig the cap… i want the cap to squash and stretch along with the head, but i want to be able to rotate it independently… couldnt do it…can any body point out how to do it?


That’s easy. You just have to rig the cap to a bone that is a child of the squash and stretch bone. Your rig is nice, and I’m no animator (just a hobbiest one) so I can’t comment about keeping the graph editor clean or not. Your rig has a lot of character, but I think you can simplify a lot of things.

For instance, you have squash and stretch in the head, and you use 3 bones for it, but you can get the exact same result by just scaling the head bone along it’s local y axis. No need for the additional 2 stretch bones (stretch to and target bone) And you need to reset your stretch modifier, because by default, it is stretched a bit.

You can pull the hands and the feet off. and you have some skinning issues in the ankles. Maybe it’s your preference, but I also think you have a LOT of controls for the spine, and only in FK. By default, you pull the fingers off, instead of rotating them.
Why do you have a hand IK that has it’s Y axis pointing upwards (not useful in graph editor?!) when all that bone does is being parented to the hand control bone? Why not lose the hand control bone altogether? You have two bones here were you need only one.

There is also something weird going on in the feet. The poletargets for the knees are located straight in front of the knees, so an offset value of 90 degrees should be correct. However, you have 82 degrees. This is most likely happening because the pivot for the lower leg and the IK target (foot.l) are not exactly the same. This is also the case for the toe and footmiddle(shin) bones. And why do you have your heelbone’s pivot at the ankle? also, for preference, why not have the heelbone (which you use as a footcontrol) aligned with the world? That way the z axis is upwards, and should be easier for using in the graph editor, right?

You also have an issue in the arms ease in and out value for the Bbone segments. In rest pose the arms look different from the rest pose in edit mode. It’s hard to notice but this makes the upper arm distort a bit at the shoulder. he solution would be to either position the shoulder aligned to the arm, or use a child bone between the shoulder and the upperarm that is aligned to the upperarm. You make that bone a child to the shoulder, and the upperarm a child to that new bone. That way you keep the shoulder pivot, but you lose the distortion.

About ordering your parts, why do you have so many bodyparts as separate objects? Every part has a separate armature modifier, while it is much cleaner, and easier to work with to have everything in a single object. If I make the parts selectable and clear their rotation, some parts turn 90 degrees, if I clear the scale, every part get’s blown up, if I clear the location, everything jumps to the world’s 0,0,0. IMO, a good rig has a character object/objects that have their loc/rot/scale 0/0/1 and aligned with the rig.
And the rig should also have it’s origin in XYZ 0,0,0, which is not the case. It is slightly offset, at the left ankle. This is my preference, but I would join all the objects, make sure the loc/rot/scale is 0/0/1, and just have one character object, with one modifier. Even if you’re not supposed to select the character object, even if you do select it (and the rig/armature object) if you clear the loc/rot/scale, everything stays nicely in place.
(You can fix this by using ctrlA, and applying loc/rot/scale for all your objects, or just add a new object, like a plane, that doesn’t have a weird location, rotation or scale, and join all your other character objects with that new object. You may want to go into edit mode and remove the actual plane though…)

I love how this character looks, but even without the issues about location/rotation/scale, there are too many controls and too much of a hassle to make it animator friendly to ME. I’m not trying to say you are doing things wrong here, after all you say you are a professional animator, I’m just saying, that for my tastes, the rig is not intuitive enough…

I’m working on a rig right now, which is almost complete. You can find the wip here:
or look at my website: (I’ve used this rig in more characters, you can see them in the first few posts)
If you like, I could send you the rig to play with. I think you would like it, and I am curious about a pro’s opinion anyhow, but on the condition that you don’t share it, as it is not finished, and I’m not sure about releasing it yet.

PS. If you want the cap to deform proportional to the squashed head (which is probably what you’ll want), you’ll have to use a lattice. Put one around the head with the cap. Have the lattice deform the head/cap, and make the lattice Put the control bone’s pivot in the center of the sphere/head, make it a child of the headbone (or have a childbone in the center of the head, and constrain the control bone for the cap to the location of the childbone, in case a scale issue might appear, or just uncheck “inherit scale” which is simpler/cleaner to do.
I have a very old ballrig which uses a lattice to rotate while squashed. The same idea should work for the head. You can find it on my old site: I just checked, and it works fine in blender 2.52. (open without loading the UI, so you’ll get the default 2.52 ui instead, which is better)

Hey freakydude,

Thanks a lot for checking out the rig and providing so many comments. Infact, its people like you to whome i owe all my animation knowledge, however little it might be. Thanks a lot.
Tomorrow is my birthday. I will recheck what your wrote and try to correct it. Also, I will check out your rig day after tomorrow.

One problem with aligning bones is that I simply couldnot figure out how to. tried to change the ‘roll’ attribute but could not find anything else. Also, there is a tut by david ward on blender cookie which i watched and just ‘winged’ this first rig, just to try. Just trying to find out how to make ‘widgets’ (control shapes for bones) to work took a lot of time.
Can you point out how I can change the ‘pivot’ of an object?

The spine has so many controls since im used to the animation mentor rig which is like that. also, i dont know how to set up an ik spine (couldnt find any blender 2.5 tuts). same with the fingers and the feet setup. (the foot does not rise automatically, like in the reverse foot setup, if the foot control moves far… it stays put)
But i would love to learn other methods too, just to make it useful since not all rigs are alike.

also, one more thing i would love to know is about being able to scale the whole rig to fit the scene. i just parented all the controls to the ‘root bone’, but if i rotate that root bone, the whole thing goes bunk. i dont know how to do that correctly.

And thanks for the ‘latice’ info on the head and cap… i will try that. but just guessing, if i put a latice on the whole cap and head, then, can i remove the cap in animation? For eg, lets say the character is scared (like in the old tom and jerry) and goes into a ‘take’… i want to make the cap hover over his head. can we do that if we use a lattice?

Thanks a lot for the feedback man. really appreciate it.

Here’s a little howto:

and a second image on how to find the origin thingies:

I did a small update on your rig, you can find it here:

Happy birthday :slight_smile:

Thanks a lot bro! So its called ‘origin’ instead of ‘pivot’ like in Maya!!! Sweet!!

Hey there guys!

After a few tests of posing and other stuff, i found that the rig gets wierd rotations and the lack of individual hip controls makes nice action lines difficult to achieve. So, im going to work on this rig (while learning ik-spine kinda workflow).

I will keep the things you said so far, freakydude. Will be back with an update (both for the cap, and other stuff) soon!

Thanks a lot!

P.S. Freakydude, Can you send me your rig so that i can check it out?

Okay, looking forward to the update, also I sent you the rig, I’m curious what you think of it, and what kind of animations you can cook up with it :slight_smile:

the rig looks awesome man! the controls are a bit hard to select (because they are a bit small (especially the root ctrl and the hips)) but other than that, awesome rig. I was thinking about how to make him blink and to change his eyebrow shapes. other than that, sweet sweet rig!

by the way, you might wanna just register at (free) and then check out this :
(incase you dont see the page, check out the ‘quick start’ button on the ‘anim mates’ page) and in that video, if you go to about 2 and half minutes, you would see the number of controls and options on a pro like rig. and at around 4 minutes 17 seconds you will see a gui with the controls. you can see just the number of controls that are there. That is how, usually, the characters are set up so that there is enough flexiblity for the animator to be able to pose the character in virtually any pose he wants and to animate in any style that is required.

thanks for the rig man. im looking into it, learning all i can.
by the way, did you check out the latest rednelb rig? daniel lara is saying that it is like the psl man rig! check it out if you havent yet!


Thanks man! I sent you a mail, hadn’t seen your comment yet… I could adjust the size of the hip controls. What do you mean with the rootbone? Do you mean the COG?

I didn’t know about the new red nelb. I was actually experimenting right now with some new features in my other rig, and now I notice red nelb already has most of em.

I’ll definitely take a look around as well. Thanks for the links!