Robot Character Rigging

Hello. I’ve been creating a robot rig for a series idea I want to make. So, I finished the endoskeleton, and even partially rigged it, and started on a face with its own rig.

Now, I’ve come across a few difficulties. First of all, when I started modeling the robot, I made this pelvis.

I have no idea how to rig that! It’s pretty intricate, but my brain tells me that it isn’t impossible. Secondly, I came up (well, not really… If you were into LEGO you may recognize these) with these feet…

This problem is getting the pistons to expand and contract correctly. My current setup for the feet does this…

And for the third problem, and probably the most complicated…

This is head I was working on for the character.

Those lines around the head (that aren’t the grid) are bendy bones that I was setting up. Now, I’ve attempted to rig this already, and it is frustrating! I have no idea how to rig faces properly using shapekeys, let alone b-bones! … In fact, this is only my second proper face, and the only one I’ve really “finished.” But I know it’s possible from this video. (I don’t need to add the sculpting shapekeys for this character, but that’s so cool!)

So, does anyone have any ideas as to how to rig all of these things? My experience with rigging is really only hard-surface rigging, which is basically parenting or weight painting individual pieces together, low-poly rigging, and lattices.

Here’s the blender file. They’re technically two files, so I put them in one for your convenience. The head and endoskeleton are in separate scenes. The password is BlenderArtistsOnly.

Thank you! :smiley:

Pistons are best rigged with either IK bone constraints, or Stretch To constraints. Lots of stuff in past posts here if you search. In my humble opinion, Armature is the only way to go for this type of model.

Cheers, Clock.

Okay, thank you. So, the positioning of the piston elements isn’t off?

What about the other things?

I am away from home just now, I will look at the file when I get home.

Cheers, Clock.

Okay then. :slight_smile: I recently updated the piston rig, and it works a lot better now, but there’s still a few issues with it. I’ll upload an updated version of that Blender file.

Updated file

I now have your file, I’ll be back with some advice!

Cheers, Clock.


Actually your file won’t download, can you reload it for me please.

Huh… It seems to be downloading for me… Did you take the one from the original post or the updated one?

OK, so I looked at the latest file. There are no hydraulics in there just the head, which has 107,224 polys in it -that’s around 100,000 too many!

You need to decimate this - use a Decimate Mod, get it to look right, then apply it - then use a Sub-Division Mod and smooth shading to get it smooth.

I cannot comment on the rest, there was nothing in the file to look at.

Cheers, Clock.

Oh, the robot is in a separate scene. Sorry about that.

Also, why do I need to decimate it? I need a lot of geometry for facial rig deformation.

You can do many facial expressions with a lot less polys - you are having trouble getting the mesh to look smooth, I can see ridge lines everywhere. Just look at how many there are on a MakeHuman mesh… My “girl” model on my latest WIP has only 13,790 polys for the entire figure: head, body, limbs, the lot and is very good at facial expressions when rigged properly and I do not need to use a Sub-Div modifier to do this.

This is how you rig a piston:

Blend File: piston.blend (477 KB) Just press Play to watch the animation, note the bone properties, like which inherits scale and which do not.

You could also use an IK constraint for the “stroke” bone, but you must set the bone to stretchable in its IK properties.

Cheers, Clock.