Rigging without deforming mesh

Hello all,
I am trying to setup a simple rig for a robot I’ve modeled. I’ve been successful in everything like IK and animating, yet I am wondering if there is any way to parent the armature to the mesh objects, and not have the mesh deform and warp when the bones are moved in pose mode. Since it is a robot, it doesn’t make much since for the pieces to be bending and warping like flesh. How can I make the mesh objects move with the bones, but not deform the mesh itself?

Thanks.

There are a couple ways. If you’re weight painting objects, even if you auto weight painted, you can go back and select a bone, exit edit/pose mode, select the object associated with that bone and enter the edit weight mode and paint that object completely red (or whatever color you have to show 100% weight). Any objects surrounding that bone that may have some color, paint those completely blue (or whatever color for 0% weight) so they are not effected by that bone.

Or, a much easier approach…

Since this is a mechanical rig, it’s more typical to parent objects to bones, either direct parent or parent constraints (e.g. Child Of constraint). If you decouple your rig from your objects, go into edit or pose mode for the rig, select a bone, exit pose/edit mode, select your object then shift select the armature object, cntrl+p and in the dropdown select “bone”…rinse and repeat.

Otherwise you can alternatively select the object, under constraints add the Child Of constraint, and fix the target as the armature and specific bone, then click “set inverse” so it corrects back to it’s relative position.

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Ok, so by removing the parent with automatic weights, and parenting the individual pieces of the mech to bones by just selecting parent to bone, I won’t see any more deformation in the mesh. Or the Child Of constraint route, which does the same thing. Is there any advantage to doing one over the other? I am not using any weight painting so the first suggestion doesn’t apply.

Thanks

If you’ve gotten rid of the weights, I’d suggest the parent to bone route. Constraints are ok but can get hairy in some situations (if you’re not familiar with the quirks) because they work differently and can have different results when it comes to some object parent hierarchies (or say bone parent hierarchies when using bone constraints).

But you can use them interchangeably or both at the same time, just easier and less confusing to stick with the more basic parenting hierarchy for the majority of objects.

Yeah the auto weights parent (Armature Deform), only part of the mesh is parented to one (nearest) bone and the other part to another bone (nearest to those vertices). So it’s on the vertex level, with weights determining the amount a vertex is parented to the selected bone.

The parent to bone (just selecting “Bone” under Cntrl+p menu) is parenting the entire mesh to that selected bone, not dealing with weights/per vertex parent). Less of a hassle than the weights, if it’s just a piece of hard metal or other rigid body.

ok thanks so much for the help :slight_smile: