Spines off of long tail

So I’m just sitting here chugging away at my rigging, things are going pretty well so far, when I encounter what I assume will be a problem once I attach the finished rig to my model.


I noticed that when I bend the spines coming off the tail that they don’t follow along at a nice and even distance, they squish in on the rest of the tail. When attached to the mesh I assume that this will end up creating some strange deformations, and I’d like to try and get this fixed before I actually attach it in case I have to add more bones/weight them/etc. Is there a constraint that will prevent them from folding in on the rest of the rig? Or is there another workaround?

I’m still a bit new to modelling and rigging so I don’t yet know all the tricks there are to it. I appreciate any help that can be given, and if you guys would like to see the .blend I can do that.

Really hard to see what is going on there, had to examine the pics 3 times before I saw the problem, so I could be way off on this…

Looks to me like you have a chain of bones that is the center of the tail, and 2 secondary bone chains running from the center chain outwards to the side. Looks like the 1st bone in the secondary chains are children of bones in the center chain of bones, but the location of them isn’t at the tip of a bone in the center chain. So they are offset and that’s probably what’s causing the problems.

Try adjusting the center chain of bones so that the tip of the bone that is the parent of the secondary chain’s base bone is at the same location. The 1st bone’s root (in the secondary chain) should be at the same location as it’s parent’s tip. And make the secondary chain base bone a ‘connected’ child of it’s parent.


Sorry, didn’t mean for it to be confusing.

And weelll. I was going to say that I think that would solve the problem, because it makes sense but uh…

It ended up making another problem lol.


You can see where it has issues with the BBones where I’ve got the secondary chain attached, and where it’s not attached it doesn’t have problems. Not sure why it’s doing this.

Ah, don’t worry about confusion, it may be that I’m used to seeing things a certain way, different than your pics show. For example, I like to view bones as octahedral, not b-bones. This allows me to see the tip & tail of the bones, even if the bones are b-bones, and I only switch to b-bone display when I’m having problems with them.

Anyhow, upload the file, please. Since the ‘off the top of my head’ solution didn’t work, I’ll have to take a deeper look into it.


Alright. I have a sort of fix in the neck bones, because I’m having the same problem there, and if you see anything else horrendously wrong or something I could do to make animating this easier please let me know.

Also only important mesh at this point is the one on the first (most left, top) layer. The rig is on the bottom left. Lights are on the top right.

I’m not sure why I have the other mesh there, but I haven’t deleted it yet for some odd reason.

.blend link: http://www.mediafire.com/download/7r84f0dn55m5orw/Kaira.blend

Ok, I was away for a bit, but I took a look at the file, and to be honest, I’ll have to take a closer look. Actually, I’m impressed, that’s a fairly complex rig!! A couple of tweaks could be added, but I did notice one problem. There is a problem with the head & eye control. Open a console window, with the armature selected, enter & exit edit mode, then check the console for the error message.

I’ll look at it further when I can, but yes I see problems with the tail…


Why thank you! It’s the culmination of lots of tutorials and a year or two of practice. xD

And yea, I didn’t notice the error messages but it /did/ seem to do some very subtle and strange things, so I changed the setup of it. I think it had something to do with an IK controller being parented to the bone it controlled, creating a loop of sorts.

Trying to get give the head a gentle bob when the body moves up and down/side to side without having to fight to manually put it in while animating. I’ve done that before, it’s a nightmare. D:

Also, in case you know where to point me, trying to figure out how to weight down the ends of the spines on her tail, wings, and the ones on her neck and head so that when she moves they also give a gentle bob as well. I figure I’ll just have to animate that by hand as well though.

Still looking for help on this.

Was away from net access and forgot to take this file with me to look at in my spare time. I’ve looked at the file a few times and just tried adding in extra bones between the tail chain, and the secondary/side bone chains. It worked fine for the next to last set on the tail. Behaved very well. Added another set to the side bone chains, and the rig warped for some reason:

I dunno why, and can’t get the kink out of it, unless I reduce it’s segments to 1, being a solid bone:

This all seems a bit ‘buggy’ to me. Right now I am wondering, since the b-bones are acting funny, do they even need to be b-bones? Really need to see how the mesh deforms to determine that.

I’m willing to work with you on this, but you’ll have to do some (most) of the work. So get the mesh hooked up to the armature and deforming and let’s see what we have…

Then we can move forward.


I’ve got a newer version uploaded, though it’s got some funky stuff going on with the feet cause I’m trying to figure out what to do with them lol. I made another thread for a bird foot roll rig.

But here’s the link to it, I’ve gone ahead and progressed with the rest of it since I figured I could always go back and work on the tail afterwards.

I believe there’s a couple rough poses in that version, though I’ve added a few things to it since then (working on redoing the membranes between all the spines/wings and getting those to pose/weight paint nicely).

But yea, I used bbones because I want the nice gentle curve in the tail, and it’s supposed to be very flexible despite being a counterweight, but if you want to play around with it go ahead. There may be a better way to do it than what I’ve got going. This model is definitely my “push and learn” model.

OK, looked at your new file and re-looked at the older one. I also looked at my attempt posted above and found I made a mistake.

Looking at the tail, I think you can do away with the tailspurbase bones, and move the tail of the control bone to the center of the main tail bones. Like so:

Then make the modified tailspur bones children of the next bone down the line. So in my screenshot, make tailspurA01.L parent be Tail11, instead of Tail10. Then you will have to fix the weighting.

Noticed, in object mode, the origin of the mesh is in the center of the head, and the origin of the armature is is the area of the hips. An older ‘golden rule’ to rigging in blender was to have those 2 points be at the same location. Ctrl-A to apply the location at the center of the 3d world for both the mesh & armature in object mode. Scale of the mesh is off and doesn’t match the armature, ctrl-A -> apply scale to fix that.

Have you thought about separating the armature out into different armature layers? A layer that just has the foot/leg/hip controls, a layer for the facial controls, a layer for the tail controls, etc… I usually have an armature layer that is just the deform bones, a series of bones that just deform the mesh by copying the loc/rot/scale of the bones you now have deforming the mesh.

If you really want to ‘push and learn’, Then I think we can come up with a decent set of controls for the wings/flaps.


I’d like to do that I think, would make it easier to deform all the membrany parts.

Also, when I remove the base bone in the chain it doesn’t deform the mesh as nicely as it did with the base spur bone there, even with adjusted weight painting. So i think I’ll keep it in because it seems to be making it do what i want to do, even if it’s a bit more complex that needed most likely.

I think it’s because when I just move the tailspur01 bones to the tail bone chain it changes the pivot point of the bone, and even with adjusted weight painting it still doesn’t deform right.

However moving the bone that they are parented to further down the chain seems to have fixed the overlapping problem.

Also I believe I added a few more bones to the wings in the my most recent additions to the rig, so I’ll go ahead and upload a new copy of the file.

It deforms alright, though it’s not as easy posing the bones as I would like it in some extreme positions. The wing membrane likes to jump to suddenly very awkward positions, like something suddenly grabs hold of part of it and yanks on it. Not sure why. Careful positioning of the intermediate wing membrane bones lets me work around it, but it’s not great, and it’s definitely a pain in the butt to work with. If you go to the greet pose I’ve got saved and wriggle the wing bones around you can see what I mean. I’m not sure if it has something to do with the stretch to bones, or if I even need those.

Here’s the new .blend: http://www.mediafire.com/download/9jel1au0pdz4cms/Kaira(3).blend

I see what you mean. I’ll take a look at it, but will be a few days before I return home to net access. I posed the hand up and close to the head, like this:

The two selected bones seem to move around a lot. Then I noticed that if I move the hand straight down, so it’s scrunched up close to the body, while I’m moving the hand downward, the membrane bones on the back of the wing, totally flip out!! They roll on their y-axis and scale in size. But I’ll take a closer look over the next couple of days.

Have you thought about looking at bird wing rigs?


It could be moving around a lot because it’s parented to the arm bone, which will rotate slightly due to wrist twist sort of a thing.

I’ll try moving the bones a bit and parenting them to the other part of the arm to see if that helps.

And yea, I noticed that as well, though I’m not really sure why. D: I think that has something to do with the odd mesh deformation. I’m not sure if stretch to bones just aren’t supposed to be squished past a certain point or if I did something wrong.

And no, I haven’t thought about that. I’ll take a peek.

OK, I’m back at home, while I was away, I had some time to look into the wing and I think I came up with something worth looking at…

The file can be found here:

On the armature layer where the wing bones are, I added extra bones at the end of each ‘spar’ bone chain (the bones that run from the arm to the back of the wing), all but the outermost chain. These bones are IK target bones for the spar chains. On the next layer above that, I added in identical bones, these bones are mechanism bones and kinda work behind the scenes to keep things working correctly. Some of these mechanism bones have different parents than their matching IK target bones. The IK target bones have copy loc constraints on them targeting their matching mechanism bones with varying values of influence, so they only partially copy the loc of the mechanism bones.

The idea is that the mechanism bones are kinda the ‘rest’ pose for the wing spars. The IK bones, thru their parenting, move freely as the arm is rotated, but are restricted somewhat by the copy loc constraints. Then each spar bone chain has an IK constraint on it. By varying the influence of the copy loc constraints and having their matching mechanism bone being children of different arm bones, I was able adjust how much each IK target bone moves.

I did not do this to the last spar chain, because I thought it would be best if it moves as the hand bone moves, but it could be done.

Then I thought about the wing flapping, and as it flaps, the back edge should lag behind the front edge in the spots where the mesh doesn’t have bones. The areas between the main mesh spar bones… hope that makes sense… So I added in a control bone that comes off the elbow and runs down between where the mesh spars are. This bone has a child, and the matching IK target bone has a copy loc constraint on it, varying the influence.

On the spar IK bone chains, on some of the bones (2-3) I had to lock down the rotations of the bones in the bones panel, under the Inverse Kinematics panel, to get them to function correctly.

This is no where near finished, that part is up to you and I think you can finish it by looking at what I did. You need to add in a control bone and target like I did at the elbow for the bone chain coming off the hand between the two mesh spar bones. Then you need to delete the bones at the back of the wing, and replace them with bones that go from then end of one wing spar to the next. You had 3 bones there, where you should have 6. one from the body to the first spar bone chain, and 5 more connecting the rest of the spar chains.

While working on this wing, I disabled the IK constraint on the arm and the copy rot constraint on the hand bone. So enable those to get IK working.

Try it out and let me know what you think…


So I’m doing some poking around here, I haven’t added in any of the new bones yet, and some parts of it work pretty well, but from what I’m seeing it looks like it’d work better for a creature that mainly uses the wings for flight.

Kaira here rarely (if ever) uses her wings to do anything but glide, and they’re more for decorative purposes than flight.

I’m finding it a bit awkward to position all the bones nicely during complex hand movements, and in moving certain bones (just the IKarm control for example) causes some unexpected rotations in a lot of places.

I like the smooth movement and deformation I can get in the membrane with this though, it’s definitely nicer than what I had before in that regard.


I need to be able to effectively fold the bones to lie flat, or at least pretty close to flat, against her arms, and with the current setup that seems hard to do (unless I’m missing something important).\

This is her reference sheet so you can see what she looks like in 2d space: http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2013/151/e/0/kairaredesign_by_jaderavenwing-d67cup8.png

I’ve also noticed that my proportions for the wings are a little off, so I think I might make the wing fingers a bit shorter.

So i guess I’m liking the direction this is heading… but it’s not quiet what I need.

OK, was away for a bit, again…

So you’re wanting the wing bones to fold up flat against the arm bones?? Looking at it, I’m thinking realistically, this is about as close to that as we could get:

And making the wings smaller might help.

I have a couple of ideas, will have to see which of them work… While I’m at it, is there anything else you expect out of this wing?

Noticed you have double verts or something going on here on the finger:

So if you’re editing the mesh, you might want to fix…

And it will be a few days before I return…


It’s alright, I’ve slowed down on working on the model as well. xD

As for what all I want the wing to do, her arms basically work like a human’s arms (except in the different direction due to her body posture). She can glide, but she can’t really fly so I don’t really need any major flapping motions with the wings. Howeeeverrr. I’m not sure how exactly her wings would be used while swimming, so they might be used like wings while swimming OR just be used as stabilizers and rudders. I’m thinking that they’d be used more as the latter while swimming.

As for the double verts, I guess they are sort of double verts, but it’s supposed to give a similar effect to the toes. I’ll move the verts around a little bit though so they don’t intersect as badly.

Still working on this. -pokes-