Problem with neck bones

I’ve been following David Ward’s Dragon Tutorial on Blender Cookie, and came across an issue where the neck bones in my armature aren’t acting as they should. They’re basically two neck bones that have been segmented. My rig isn’t exactly the same as the one in the tutorial because my dragon is of different body structure, and after playing with it for a while I still can’t figure out how to make them work properly. They aren’t bending and allowing smooth head and neck movement.

I’ve attached file with the rig to further allow more definition into my problem.

Attachments

dragonrig.blend (416 KB)

Okay I took a look at your file and… even though I really like David Wards tutorials I have not done his Dragon one Yet… but what I can tell you about your neck setup is that you have an IK_ Constraint pointing to a bone that is Parented to that Same Bone… that causes a “Loop” that drives the IK solver crazy… I am not sure how this setup is suppose to work but that definitely won’t work as it is…

Heres’ a reworked neck that might interest you… note the constraints used… the “Pole” Target… and the fact that I have One Bone inside another bone in the Head… (to help avoid IK_Looping problems)

[ATTACH]175057[/ATTACH]

Fatalis, looked at your rig, but I didn’t look at norvman’s example, so my comments are only directed at your rig Fatalis.

The body bone is a child of the neck bones, so in order to pose the body, you have to grab the neck bones and move them. Personally I’d want it to be the other way around, so you could grab the body bone and move it to make the creature crouch when animating. Then make the neck bones be children of the body bone - rather you call it a shoulder bone…

Randy

The reworked rig you posted pretty much fixed my problem. Still being fairly new to Blender, I haven’t the full knowledge of how to fix all my problems without the help of others. I thank you.

Okay I went back and watched David Wards Dragon Tutorial… (only the rigging part) (still wish I had time to watch the whole thing…) And I noted right off the bat… that your bones in your origonal file are pointing the wrong way… This is one of the down falls of using BBones… (and I kind of like using BBones myself) but what needs to happen is that on occation… especially when your first laying out your Bones you probably should have them set to use… Octahedral… If you dont’ remember where that is… Properties Panel > Object Data(the little man Icon) > Display… from there you set the appearance of your bones to Octahedral, Stick, BBone, Envelop, Wire… Octahedral makes it easy to see which direction your bones are pointing… The wide end is the Root (or Head) of the bone the small end is the tail of the bone… When a bone is Parented to a another… it is the Head that will want to be ‘connected’ (unless you have ‘Connected’ unchecked) … Your Bone will also Rotate around the Head and not the Tail… So if your bone is ‘Fliped’ around facing the wrong way it can change how that bone rotates… more often than not in undesirable ways… So if you have a bone say that you find that is facing the wrong direction… it’s pretty easy to fix (if you don’t have a whole lot of them) Select your bone in Edit mode > then on the bottom tool bar find ‘Armature’ > then ‘Switch Direction’ in the PopUp menu… (you also can use Alt+F) and your Bone will flip directions… So again noting how Ward built his rigg he started from the hips… the made his bones out toward the head… thus all his bones have there 'tail’s point towards the head… then he made his bones going out towards the Dragons tail… making all those bones pointing in the direction of the Tail tip of the Dragon… and that is how he organized his bones to rotate the way the do… Anyway … hope that helps some…

Thanks for the added information. I noticed that on the fixed armature you attach, the bones you reworked have the z-axis point directions other than upwards… I tried fixing it, but the neck bones became twisted. Any suggestions on how I fix this?

Yes… try this… Tab into edit mode and pick these bones > neck01, neck02, NeckBender, head, jaw, Hit Ctrl+N > Select Zaxis > now all bones point Zaxis up in Edit mode > PLus do a couple more things >>> Find and select > Pole_Targ_Neck > Delete it > Select the joint between neck01 & neck02 > Hit E (to extrude) pull a new bone out along the ‘Normal’ Zee/Zed axis Forwards > Hit Ctrl+Alt+S to ‘Fatten’ it out a bit from the other bones (to Make it easier to Select later) > Name it ‘AdamsApple’> Parent it to the Head bone (uncheck connected) >> Tab into Pose mode > Select neck01 > BoneConstraints(BoneChain Icon) and Kill the IK constraint >> Select neck02 and Kill the IK constraint > with neck02 selected > add a new ‘Stretch To’ constraint > make ‘Adams Apple’ the target (or rather Armature then Adams Apple)>> Select neck01 add a ‘Stretch To’ Constraint and make it’s target ‘NeckBender’ >> Thats it… (this should be a much better setup) Use the Head bone, Jaw bone and Adams Apple bone to move the Head and Neck around > Hide the rest of the neck bones when animating… :wink:

I’m liking how you set these constraints up. But whenever I rotate or relocate the head bone (after more experimenting I found that rotating or moving the neck02 and adamsApple bones makes this happen as well), the neck01 bone stretches out into the abyss… Did I miss something?

Not sure (you may have to post your file again)… perhaps if you locked off all translation and rotations that you don’t plan on using… for instance… the Jaw bone only really needs to rotate on the X axis… (always animate Riggs in Local or Normal mode not World)… To lock just select the lock Icon on that preticular channel in Left tool bar in the 3D view…

Make sure X-axis Mirror is turned off during animation… Make sure all your Copy Rotation… Copy Location… constraints are set to Local… (in both text feilds)

I tried doing most of what you suggested, but this odd occurance is still happening. I’ll attach the file so you can see.

Attachments

highpolyDrag5.blend (1.19 MB)

the bone named NeckBender doesn’t have to be child of the neck1. it’s like a loop in the constraints. i haven’t readen all the post, but i guess that’s the problem

Try this…

[ATTACH]176031[/ATTACH]

P.S…
NeckBender should have Head as it’s Parent…

P.S.S… Your going to have some troubles with your Leg setup…
You need to set some Pole targets to keep the lower leg from twisting in undesirable ways…

I have gotten use to ‘allways’ (even though you don’t have to) setting a pole target when ever I Set an IK constraint…

here is good Dragon Rigg Video that might help show you some different ways to do it…

Thank you for pointing out all of the faults in my armature, it’s helping me learn lots. I’ll be sure to watch the video and I see if I can improve upon my current setup or make a new one. I’ll come back to this thread if I have any other issues, (of course, I don’t mean to bother you with my newbieness).