Rigging 3 cubes together

oh, hello.

i’m new to Blender and this learning curve they talk about is steeeeeeeep. Need some crampons. I’ve been running into some rigging problems and hope there’s someone out there who can really help.

I have a character. He’s basically made out of 3 cubes. a head. a body. a legs. here he is here: http://d.pr/i/o2tk

I need to rig him so that he can twist his head and body freely, like so: http://d.pr/i/txbG

I can do THAT. but I also really want him to be able to bend as a whole too. eg: http://d.pr/i/tVIW

When bending, it’d be important that his head stays planted firmly on his body. and his body to his legs. So for example, I could bend him, but then if I wanted… i could twist his head around too.

Is this possible? what would be the best way to go about it? Be my crampon. Thanks.

Although it’s a simple in concept there are many steps needed to get there. Here is the basic setup:

http://i1135.photobucket.com/albums/m626/cabby24/Blender%20Pics%202013/cube_man1_zpsf663a69d.png

The mesh to be controlled needs to be separate parts. It can even be separate objects. This way, head can rotate by itself without distorting the body. If you want each body to be able to “bend” they must be subdivided as shown.

You can get away with single string of bones to control of cube man. You need three main bones and two additional control bones. Base bone fixes bottom face flat on the ground. And one at the top is used to bend the head.

To be able to “bend” the cubes with bone, you need to set the Octahedron bone to B-bone. B-bone has special property where it can be segmented. With it, rigid Bone can be bent.

http://i1135.photobucket.com/albums/m626/cabby24/Blender%20Pics%202013/cube_man2_zps12b2a623.png

Here at its simplest setup cube stack can be bent with Auto IK turned on. But this setup will not allow you to rotate the head independently.

ridix! what a great reply, thanks so much for taking the time and taking screenshots etc, it’s very much appreciated.

Can i ask a couple more questions?

After my initial post- I was having a look at b-bones and was heading down the right track it seems! here I have 3 objects bending around 1 main bendy b-bone with a controlling bone at the top and a base bone

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/692435/bendy.jpg

So just now I’ve been seeing if I can set up 3 b-bones like your example. And i think I can, but at the moment it’s quite fiddly to control the character’s bend as a whole. (having to transform 3 bones instead of 1) Do you think it’d be possible for me to set up the rig with 1 controller that bends the character’s 3 bones just as if it was one? Is this something that’s commonly done? I was having a look at copying rotations of other bones in the Bone Contraints. Do you think this might be the way to go?

And my other query is about spinning the head and body independently on their Z axis. Is this another problem where Bone Contraints might help me? Can I somehow tell BoneA not to rotate on the Zaxis when BoneB rotates on the Zaxis?

Thanks again, and if one one else wants to chip in… all feedback is welcome!