Nessie [rigging almost done, 12/20]

Gather round’ children, I’m here to tell ye of the story of the Loch Ness monster… or Nessie, as they call 'er.

Well, no, I’ll just show you some pictures. Evidence, I say! Except I made it in Blender…
http://dustycloud.org/gfx/goodies/blender/nessie.jpg

This is my first time experimenting with rigging and, well, I really don’t know what I’m doing. The tail’s IK solver seems to work well… I kinda undid the rigging on the mouth, and I’ll fix that later. But i’m noticing that when pulling around the IK solvers for the neck and the spine that they go fly so far away from the rest of the armature. I’m not sure if that’s normal.
Here, you can play with it:
http://dustycloud.org/gfx/goodies/blender/lochness2.blend

I need criticism! Desparately! I dunno what I’m doing! :slight_smile:

I don’t know much about rigging either, but I like the model.

Thanks I__.
Yeah, I like the model too, even though its proportions are entirely unrealistic. I basically built this to test modeling.

I can’t seem to get the mouth to deform right any more. Before I rigged the rest of the body, it was just a mouth which opened and closed wonderfully. Now when I attempt to skin the mouth and test… well… it’s a fairly scary deformation.

riggin scares me to the bones. I haven’t tried it myself, but it may become a Christmas project. So I can’t help there.

Very nice model, I agree. Eyelids are hard to model… are you rigging those too?

Good luck!

The problem with the IK_Neck and IK_Spine bones flying off at weird locations is a parenting issue. Go into editmode on your skeleton and in the editbuttons, click Draw Names (this is just a personal preference, but it helps a lot when you are trying to change your skeletons).

Select the IK_Neck bone, and you will notice that under the Armature Bones tab in the edit-buttons, it says child of Neck6. [This becomes a problem: when you move the IK_Neck bone, the Neck6 bone moves from the IK Solver constraint. With the IK_Neck as a child of Neck6, the IK_Neck bone is going to change as much as you are changing it in pose-mode, as well as whatever changes are being made to the Neck6 bone: this is why it is “flying off”. ] To fix this, click on the popup menu that says Neck6 and choose the empty space or choose Spine5 so that if you move the spine, the neck moves with it. Do the same with the IK_Spine, or whatever IK has this problem, and they won’t fly off anymore.

Rigging is tough, but when your finished, animating is fun… so have fun.

Hope this helps.

Syrux: Yes, it helps a lot! Thank you so much! I’ll get to that as soon as I can :slight_smile:

Alright! I’ve made a lot of progress, thanks to the magnificent help of those on the forum and on #blenderchat. Most of the rigging is done, and works beautifully. There are only a few more things I need to figure out before this is ready for some animation tests. (Then after that… texturing!)

But the problems I’m having now are fairly big ones, so once again I’m going to point to my .blend so you can play with it.

Click here for your very own pet water dino!

The troubles I’m having are:

  • I can’t figure out how to get the eyes to stay in the head when I move it around. I know this has to do with parenting, but I dunno how it is done.
  • Try rotating the head bone. You’ll notice a problem immediately… the head shrinks and deforms.
  • Try moving around the tongue IK solver. You’ll notice the tongue is almost attracted to a certain point.

Well, I don’t really know the solution to these… so if someone could give me a hint, I’d be eternally grateful. :wink:

When you rigged this, did you manually create vertex groups or did you have blender do it’s auto-skin thing?

In either case, most of your problems now are related to vertex groups rather than parenting.

It looks like you did rig this manually judging from how clean your groups are :slight_smile: .
If you go into the vertex group mini-window (in edit-mode), choose Head from the drop down menu, and click select, you will notice that all the vertices of your head are selected. Now deselect all the vertices of your mesh and do the same with the Neck6 group. The Head vertices get selected again. When you have a vertex that is in more than one vertex group, when you move the corresponding bones, that vertex ends up moving the average of where you moved the bones. For example, because your tongue vertices are in the Tongue* group and the Head group and the Neck6 group, whenever you move one of your tongue bones, the vertices will only move 1/3 the distance because it is partially held in place by the Head and Neck6 bones. To fix this, select the vertices of say Tongue3 ( for example). Then choose Head from the dropdown menu and click the Remove button. Do the same with Neck6. Now, the Tongue3 bone should move the Tongue3 vertices the right amount. Now just do the same with any other bone with the same problem (some being: Tongue2, Tongue1, Head, maybe more).

The Head vertices are also in multiple groups (like Neck6). This is why you are getting the deforming problem. Just remove the Head vertices from the Neck6 group and the Head won’t deform anymore.

Now, sometimes, having vertices in multiple vertex groups can be useful. For example, on the head, I would put some of the vertices that are between Neck6 and Head in both groups to get a smooth deform. If you just remove the Head vertices from the Neck6 group and rotate the Head bone, you will get a sharp angle/deform on the back of the head.

For the eyes, if you want them to follow the Head bone, parent the eye to the skeleton, only when the menu pops up, select bone. Then select Head out of the new menu that pops up, and the eye should be parented to that bone. You could also add dedicated bones for your eyes if you need to be able to turn them.

Rigging looks good so far, keep it up.

BTW: sorry for the really long answers, I’m not the best at explaining things in a concise manner :wink: .

Syrux, your post was perfect, so don’t worry about it not being concise. It was thorough :slight_smile:
Because of your help…
http://dustycloud.org/gfx/goodies/blender/posednessie.jpg

Lookie lookie! It is now mostly posable :slight_smile:
Deleted the old .blend, new one is here.

Syrux, you suggested that I use armature to control my eyelids, but I’ve seen many more people doing it with RVKs. Are there advantages and disadvantages to each method?

Well, looks good now. I like to make things posable, even if I’m just making stills because I can always re-use a model. Actually, empeeu suggested rigging the eyelids, what I meant was create bones that go from the center of each eye to the center of it’s cornea. That way you can animate how the eyes turn. You will want to parent the eyes to their own bones rather than the Head bone in this case.

As far as the eyelids go, it really depends on how detailed you want the emotions to be. If you just need to open or close your eyelids, I would go with rigging them. I personally don’t like to bother with RVK’s unless they are necessary because I always have trouble if I want to add more points to the mesh. For more detailed expressions, RVK’s allow for finer adjustments without making a ton of bones.

If you just want to open/close the eyelids, what you could try is to make a bone that goes from the center of the eye to the edge of an eyelid. This way, all you have to do is rotate that bone and the eyelid will move in a curved pattern over the eye.

Lookin’ good :smiley: . Can’t wait to see it textured and in an animation.