Tongue Rigging


What are some of the best ways of rigging a tongue, so that it can be used for various arbitary positions? In this case, I’m working on a cartoon dog.

I’ve tried using a [BBone -> Control Bone -> IK-Target] setup, where the bbone had a StretchTo constraint to the IK-Target, and the Control Bone held a CopyRotation constraint to the IK-Target and the IK-Solver constraint. This setup was clumsy and didn’t work too well (the tongue didn’t ‘flop’/bend well enough).

The current setup I’ve got is a chain of about 5 bones. Each bone has a StretchTo constraint and a CopyRotation constraint. These constraints are pointed at the IK-Target, and the influence of each constraint is proportional to the distance (in bones) between the IK-Target and that bone. It certainly bends quite well, but I wonder whether there is a more elegant solution out there?


If is is, as you say, for arbitary positions, you could use RVKs (now also knows as Shape Keys) to define final positions for example:

Tongue fully in (Base mesh)
Tongue fully out
Right hand side
Left hand side
Scooped (Like a dog laps)
Curled (Second lapping action)
Lick left jowl
Lick right jowl

etc., then use key animation to animate the tongue as you need it?