Rigging a Fish Help

I havn’t had ALOT of experience with rigging. And I need a little advice. I have looked at a lot of tutorials and such but I can’t find anything on rigging this type type of being (Fish). Here is my rig that I tried to do, I hanv’t actually attached it to the mesh yet. I wanted to know if you guys thought this would work, and yes his “arms” need to be able to function kinda as arms (Think finding nemo/Sharktale).

Also did you want me to post the .Blend?

Cute fish ! I’m a very new Blender user and like you, I’m building fish at the moment. It seems a lot of bones unless you’re trying to make some unusual movements. Two in the body seems enough, plus one in each pectoral fin. I’ve used planes as my fins and added some soft body movement. I’m using shape keys for the mouth.

Looks, ok, maybe a couple of bones for the top “fin” ?



Depending on your mesh, and the results you’re looking for, it might easier to animate the top fin with the same kind of “horizontal chain” that you have running through the main body.

Also, if this is supposed to be a “character fish”, instead of a “real fish”, you’ll either want to add some bones for the “eyebrows” + eyelids, and maybe some other small bones around the lips / cheeks, or create shape keys for the face

Nice modelling job :slight_smile:


Thanks. yah I was planing on using shape keys for the face. And I’ll fix up that chain.

Edit: Fixed the chain.

Wow! I am just realizing how much a pain in the a**, weight painting is.
I am trying to do his left arm. Yah not going so well.
Couple of questions that could definitly help:
1)Is there anyeway to hide part of a mesh in weight paint mode?
2)Is there anyway to have the “paint” go on certain areas when painting. Eg) Select, hit something and paint all over but only sticks to selected parts?

Any help would be amazing at the moment.

usually the jaw is shapekeys, not just a bone, so he can smile and talk. Looks good!

to hide, just select and press H. Alt-H to unhide

Hmm, okay yah that would probably be easier. And he doesn’t need to talk so that simplifies things slightly.

I tried to hide everything but the arm in edit mode and then switch to weight painting but the entire fish showed up again. Is there a way to select only certain parts and hide them in weigth paint mode?

Face select mode. Then hiding and clipping border and paint only selected available.

I won’t tell you the hotkeys… wiki wiki wiki (a goldmine of info there). :slight_smile:


Typically I would but the Blender Wiki has been off and on so much lately for me I’ve only been able to get on about once in the last couple days, it’s really annoying.

Hells bells, the Blender site is down yet again. OK I see your reply*. It was up when I posted. Sorry bout that.

F-key in weight paint mode to get into face select mode. Selected faces only will be painted (actually it’s vertices getting painted not faces). Then H and alt H for hiding, B to border select. Alt B to clip and unclip select.

  • I was posting this after checking the link -saw your reply during preview. I forgot about the ongoing “get a life and do something else -it’s down because of traffic” problem with the server.

K thanks that helps.

Another question: When I just test pose the arm I am working on, random verts will move with it, even though none of them are painted as movable by any of the bones. Any thoughts? Also I was wondering if there was a way to see what verts are actually connected to a vertex group and if it was possible to delete them from a group? And reassign them to another?

Hmm… perhaps it might actually be easier to manipulate the fish if the spine chain was the other way around (with the head of the first bone starting in the head, and each bone in that chain pointing towards the tail). This is based on my observations of how my goldfish tend to swim (head leads, and you get a ripple-like movement down the body - think of a point 3/4 down the body, where the body starts to slim down to form the tail as the point that drives this ‘s’ shaped swerving).

In terms of the top fin, having vertical bones in a bit better than a horizontal chain. Fish tend to ripple that in sections instead of having it flap like a stingray’s wings. In order to make it easier to control, you may consider adding some controls which help control all of these vertical bones on a ‘macro’-level (like cessen does with the eyelids + mouth of the peach rigs), with the vertical bones still able to be edited to provide fine-tuning of the shape.

I’d also advise that you adjust the ‘roll’ of the bones (i.e. the rotation of them along their long-axis) before trying to animate. It helps to have the bones in an orderly fashion before starting to do any animation, as it decreases the chance that something will work wrongly given the weird situation you have.

If you’d like extra help with this, you can send me the file, and I’ll have a look after checking out some bugs. :wink:


@ your last question:

I think if a vert is in a vertex group for a bone, it can be influenced even if weight is 0 on that particular vertice. So you’re on the right track about cleaning up your vertex groups while weight painting.

Tab into edit mode to select groups and assign / deassign vertices (F9 (Editing) > Links and Materials tab).

Btw site is up as I post this. (Poor tech, he’s been thru hell this week I think).


OK. Nuther guru onboard with ya now… LP gets out of way :slight_smile:

Thanks Aligorith, I could really use a trained eye at the moment just to go through and check out everything I have done.My mind is just absolutly spinning trying to figure this all out.

Where did you want me to send it?

Along with the vertex groups panel that Larry mentioned, while in weight-paiint mode SH-LMB will bring up a popup with the vert group(s) the verts under the mouse ptr are assigned to. LMB on that popup to select that vertex group.

You’ll probably have to use a combination of weight-painting and the vertex panel to tweak everything. b(box) and bb(bbox) select (LMB) and (alt-LMB) deselect are handy when in edit mode / vertex panel.


E-mail sent!!