Rigging vs ??? for Comic Book Characters

I am working on a 60’s underground style comic book. My three characters will appear in each panel so it would be nice if they were able to be posed by dragging a hand or foot and have the arm or leg follow appropriately. Will rigging the characters create the necessary IK chains (or whatever Blender’s implementation is) to do that? The characters will not be animated, just in different still poses in each panel of the comic so if someone knows a good approach to accomplish this I’d be grateful to hear of it.

Since you won’t be animating the characters in real time this gives you a lot of freedom. You don’t need the rig to move realistically in all cases but the more accurately your rig controls the characters the easier your job will be.
If it were me I would use a very basic biped rig with IK targets at the wrist’s and ankles and collar bones to give the shoulders some realism.
You will be poses your characters in some extreme ways if this is anything like a typical comic book. This is nearly impossible to do with just a rig. Your best bet is to create shape keys for positions like knees bent all the way, arms up over the head, bent over forwards with stomach against legs, or any other extreme pose.

Thank you! I didn’t want to spend time learning something if it wouldn’t provide the results I was looking for.

Sure I’ll get some criticism for this post not sounding supportive or P.C. but your last response “Thank you! I didn’t want to spend time learning something if it wouldn’t provide the results I was looking for” is why your comic book is doomed to look crappy. What you’re saying is that you want to publish something (which will make you look like a bit of an expert) but you’re not really interested in the learning it takes to really get to that expert level.

Regardless of whether your comic is animated or posed stills, rigging is essentially the way of making sure you can efficiently pose your characters. With muscular characters you will likely have some bad twists around joints, yes, but then these can be resculpted after the pose (in the very lest “Apply” the pose, then sculpt).

As an example; you could easily make a comic from well rigged characters like Mancandy, but to remodel him into pose (versus rigging) would be ridiculous. Rigging matters!

What do you need to learn?

  • Setting up the Armature (bones).
  • Setting up IK/FK to make the hand movements (etc) as previously described.
  • Weight painting the bones.
  • To make things really easy in the end product, making bone shapes for the controllers you want.
  • If you want mouth shapes / different expressions; shapekey controllers.

Learn these things and you will be able to make characters which will be much more efficient to use for your comic than trying to remodel them every frame. Rigging is time consuming, but think about how worth it the process will be when you can make all those comics much more easily ever after.

Lancer, I think that you may have misinterpreted my comment and therefore made your borderline-obnoxious response.

It took the good time and trouble to begin in working in Blender last year at the age of 61. That may obviate your remark about what I’m willing to learn.

I’ve been doing pen and ink drawings for over forty years so my work in Blender has been static scenes. That meant that those obviously powerful tools for animation were of less importance than learning to model, texture, and light my scenes. Those three things alone are fairly consuming (Especially for a new user) and I’m still learning something new every day.

As for publishing the comic, nope. It’s for my own amusement and the joy of creation. As for looking like an expert; I’m now 62, I’ve had two moderately successful careers, I’ve raised a family and my marriage has lasted (So far) 33 years - I could give a crap about what a lot of anonymous people on line think of me.

On the other hand, thank you for the list of the things that I need to work on to enable me to better create the comic.

Sounds good. I’d hate to see you short cut the process and I want your comic to be the best it can be. I don’t want to say anything in 3D is easy, although learning basic rigging isn’t as hard as some people are lead to believe, so I think you should look into it. Rigging really is the way to go for what you’ve described.

Have you seen the awesome Blender-made webcomic at http://www.ustherobots.com?

Depending on the style of your comic, 2D paper-cutout style can be even easier to “rig” than 3D animation.

Thanks, Lancer. I thought that rigging might be the best way to accomplish my goal and I just wanted to verify that notion before I plunged in. The robots comics are inspiring. Your suggestion regarding 2D paper-cutout style is definitely worth considering. I’m looking at my story board right now to determine whether that might work.

For what it’s worth, the comic is a tribute to the late Rick Griffin a 60’s comic strip artist whose style heavily influenced my own work in the early days. Copying his style for a time also led to some of my earliest sales so I owe him.