Rigging a Tail

Anyone know of some good ways to rig a tail for the best flexibility in animation? I have a character with a tail and used a tuitorial from DanPro that actually is very good (thank you DanPro). But I am still having trouble with mine. Everything else is solid but just looking for a tail I can work that is flexible and will not distort. Any suggestions?

A simple method would be to use a double transform rig for the tail.

Try this: Double Transform Rig.blend (431 KB)

The main tail bone will auto rotate all the bones in the chain, but each bone can be tweaked on top of that.

The important part of this rig is the parenting and using local space and offset in the copy rotation constraints.

This is called a double transform rig because each bone is rotating because of the parent/child relationship, plus a copy rotation constraint. Each bone will rotate slightly further then the bone that proceeds it. (Doubling the transforms.)

It’s easy to rig and easy to animate. Tails generally do not need FK and IK switching.

Good luck!

1 Like

Thanks DanPro,

I think that may have been where I went wrong. I followed your tutorial on IK and FK tentacles to the letter and it work great, but when trying to use it on a tail it did not work as well. I will give this a try. Looks like what I need. And I agree that tails dont need IK and FK. It became problematic for me when working with the entire rig.

By the way, any suggestions on weight painting? Should tails have individual weight per bones in the tail or should you progress towards weight as you move up the tail to the end?

Use segmented bones and the weights between bones can have harsh transitions. The sample file above is set up for segmented bones. Just enable b-bone display for the armature.

Thanks for the great advise DanPro.