Noob driver question

Hi Guys,

I’m pretty new to rigging in blender, trying to find info on this without much look, might be lack of google skills.

I’m rigging a a character and was putting a couple custom properties on the IK handle on the wrist to have quick access to finger controls like curl, spread, fist, etc. It’s all good and gravy but it seems by controlling the rotation via drivers I lost the ability to fine tune the bone positions later on by hand if needed.

Normally in maya I’d have made a custom attribute, set driven keys for the pose, and still have the ability to animate each bone on top of that - surely there must be a way to do this.

Anyone any pointers for scenarios like these?




drivers will occupy transform channels, much like connecting an attribute in Maya keeps you from editing it by hand. However constraints will create a virtual offset (when used in local space at least) which lets you further tweak the bone’s transforms.
For your case (fingers curl) I’d go with constraints since that kind of relationship can usually stay linear (only driver swill allow you to draw a custom curve). Of course you can always keep the drivers and create bone offsets manually - sometimes you just have to, and it works fine.


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I see. Thanks for the explanation!

Constraints would work fine for single finger curl, but it feels tricky to set up more complex things like making a fist with one custom attribute, and adjust the thumb pose later on if I decide to do so.

Maybe a way would be to set up a couple of pose libraries, seems one can set poses for bone selections as well.

I really need to watch more tutorials :slight_smile:

Absolutely right, pose libraries can intervene and even replace the old attributes in places. Of course you’ll still end up with a lot of curves in the graph instead of just one, but they’re handy. However making a fist with a single attribute like you said is no more complex than a single finger curl - you can copy and paste constraints with ctrl+c in pose mode if you don’t know (as well as other stuff), that should get you there quicker. The transformation constraint can be useful as it lets you drive a transform channel by another. I tend to use a copy rotation and a transformation on top to adjust the driven position for the situations you mentioned (working on eyelids right now…). You can also use the action constraint in case the movement has to be complex/nonlinear, bit of a hassle to set up but very powerful. Basically like a driven key, with all the power of the graph editor (curve modifiers…).


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nice, didn’t know about the ctrl+c/v for constraints. Makes sense. Do you recommend any good tutorials on more complex rigging/constraints?

Haven’t even attempted to tackle eye setups, I’m used to blendshape/shape key based systems and there’s almost no information on doing facial setups with inbetweens/correctives.

Sorry I don’t know many resources. A very good example for a full-on facial rig is the Vincent rig, available from the Blender Cloud for free. I’ve been working to replicate that thing to an extent recently - it relies heavily on bendy bones strung between more-or-less evenly-spaced “marker bones” so to speak that are themselves controlled by bigger controllers (jaw, lips…) through action constraints. It’s very complex, but damn does it work well.
Corrective shapes work the same as they do in Maya, you just fire them up with drivers. There’s also the floor constraint which is used to push a bone with another, I use that for a lot of stuff. It’s basically like transform limits, but relative to another bone.

Ye, Vincent is a really well rounded cartoon rig. I also love bendy bones, they’re so much fun. Would be great to see someone replicate one of these crazy meindbender rigs in blender, I’d buy that tutorial in a heartbeat -

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Oh yes ! I love those, they look so flexible ! Their dough characters series for CN is all-round amazing. Great animation too.

You can try and dissect Vincent rig yourself, show all armature layers, examine constraints and relationships…

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Will do! Thanks for all your tips! So much to learn when migrating to a new software…

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Another layer of bones. Driver bones, control bones, deform bones.

It would sure be nice sometime to have a node constraint system though. Would make all these layers of bones unnecessary.

Ah, that’s right, that could be another way. I’m probably gonna try all scenarios, have to rig quite a few characters soon, it’d be good to have a system in place.

I’m curious to see what they’re cooking up for animation 2020. Exciting times.