Rigging a fish for animation

(womball) #1

I just downloaded Blender 2.40 alpha. I am trying to figure out how to use all of the new tools, especially animation ones.

I am working with this fish, although I plan on adding a lot of detail like eyelids, and perhaps attach the eyelids to the body.

Now my question is what would be a good way of rigging this fish?

(Duoas) #2

Use RVK’s and/or Hooks for the face.

For the body, a simple two or three joint armature. A single bone for the dorsal fin. A couple of bones for each of the the “arm” fins.

For the tail (not yet modelled): imagine looking at the fish from side view. He becomes interested in what’s directly beneath him so he turns head-down, tail-up. Now looking at the body armature as the stem of a capital Y, have one or two bones on each branch in the tail.

Hope this makes sense.

(womball) #3

The basic setup makes sense, but I have no idea what a RVK or Hook is. Are they new features in Blender 2.40? Not sure how to use them. Also Do I link all of the bones together to form a cohesive skeleton or doing I just have bones floating there with no connection with each other?

(Duoas) #4

Here’s a simple fish blend to help.

Shameless RVK plug.

Hooks are a way to constrain a vertex or a group of vertices in a mesh to follow another object, kind of like pinching someone’s cheek and pulling it away from the face. The object it follows is usually an empty, and it is automatically set to move like the vertices normally would if unhooked.

In edit mode, select the vertices to hook and press Ctrl-H to add a hook. Now tab back out and grab the empty and drag it around a bit to see what happens.

Hope this helps.

[edit]Oh yeah, forgot to mention, you can load the blend file, press Z for shaded, and press Alt-A to see him move a little. Try viewing from different angles.[/edit]

(womball) #5

Couldn’t you just use shape modifiers? I am not sure how to use them in blender. What does RVK stand for? I will play around with them too.

Having some trouble with the teeth. I moved the modeling process into the wip section. I should have him completed by next Friday. Hopefully textured as well.

(Duoas) #6

RVK means Relative Vertex Keys. Both RVKs and Hooks are specifically designed for doing things like facial animation. Shape modifiers are not (and would be grievous to use as such).

Looks good so far.

You could model an individual tooth, then duplivert it in the shape of the mouth. Make dupliverts real and scale/rotate individual teeth a little to break uniformity, as desired. When done, select them all and Ctrl-J join them into one mesh.

P.S. You could probably add a bone for jaw movement too. Bones are good for gross movement: RVK’s and hooks for fine movements.

Hope this helps.

(womball) #7

I think I am going to focus on completing modeling this week. I have an updated model here, I move this over to the WIP section. I think its coming along nicely, although I am probably going to have to get rid of the scale procedural texture.

(AndyD) #8

If you use hooks to control him, what bait would you use on the hooks?

Sorry, had to ask… :wink:

I can see this tubby little guy being deformed with a lattice too (could also be done with bones). I think he’d squash and stretch pretty well as he moves around.

(womball) #9

I started rigging him. Check out my rig.

(Duoas) #10

Looks good.

You might want to blend the weights for the edges of the mouth.

In Weight Paint mode, select Jaw, and give the top corner of the mouth a .5 and maybe about a quarter to a third of the way across a .2 and appropriate values inbetween.
Now switch to the head bone (Roett?) and do the same for the lower lip.
That way he’ll have a more natural shape around the corners when he opens his mouth.

Hope this helps.

(womball) #11

I haven’t set up a head bone. The Roett bone is a Root taill bone. Any suggesetion fors for riggin the eye lids?

(womball) #12

Having some trouble rigging the eye. When not rendered, the eye looks closed (which I want).

However when I render in blender, the iris, lens, and pupil appear floating infront of the closed eye lid. What should I do?

(Gabio) #13

maybe the material of the iris force blender to render it in front. like it was a Z offset. or more simply when deforming and applying subsurf the geometry let the eye go in front. I suppose it’ a shape key. Edit the shape and move the flesh more over the eye so it cover everything.

(womball) #14

I just registered a putfile account, but it seems that it doesn’t allow uploads of blend files. :frowning: Is there a way of uploading blend files on it? Or do I need to register somewhere else for file storage?

I figured it out, I had z transparency enable for the lens of the eye.

(Gabio) #15

you can use:
for any file type…

(Duoas) #16

Sorry I haven’t replied 'till now. Looks good. What’re you using, RVK? Some people prefer to use bones on the eyelids, particularly when the eyes are really round like yours are. If not, check that the eyelids don’t intersect the eyes in a bad way when half-closed. (Preview-render a quick animation of the eyes closing and opening for best results.)

I’d add a head bone. Extra flexability along the body and something to work against the jaw (in vertex weights).

I love the braces!

I do think, though, that the texture needs some help. Right now he looks kind of like a wax orange. But you did say you’d get to it eventually, no? When you do, check out the LSCM unwrapping. It works well.

(womball) #17

For the textures I was going to use a bump map and create scales either in gimp or photoshop. Any suggestions for creating scale bumps in either program? I have RVK’s set up for eyeblinks. I need to figure out how to rig up an OOO face, and O face, and various lip sync faces.

I was also think of layering color textures and spec maps to get a realistic like coloring for the fish. I may have to use sub surface scattering?

(Fligh) #18

Look here for the Scales texture plugin:



(womball) #19

I don’t want to work with procedural textures though, UV textures. They can transfer to other programs, and probably will render in Yavray better. I want more control over it as well, and some stretchmarks around the mouth where it stretches rather than scales there. So its going to have to be done in Gimp or Photoshop

(Fligh) #20

Put it on a plane, render, save as .tga, UVMap.