What is a pole target?

What is a pole target?

So I have read about them and their use everywhere and even used them myself but I cannot find anywhere on the web what a pole target actually is. If there is already a post or a page or anything anywhere please drop a link. Thanks!

a pole target is a secondary target for a bone with an IK constraint. The first target is where the chain of bones is trying to get to, and the second target(pole target), is where the chain bends to to get to this target.
A possible setup is this:
a chain of bones (like >upperarm>forearm, you wouldn’t want to include the arms and shoulder in the IK chain metinks) has an IK constraint on the last child bone (forearm) and is set to target an IK target (like a replacement target bone for the hand)
Then to control the direction the elbow is pointing, use another target, the pole target.

Just curious, if you don’t know what a pole target is, how have you been using them?

Oh I get it. It’s like a control point on a curve. Thank you very much!

I have been using them when making a hand rig to make sure that the fingers (I’m using an ik target for the finger position because the hand is going to be standing on it’s fingers) point the correct direction and don’t flip over into unnatural orientations.

It is strange though because the pole target seems to be doing the opposite of what you said. I have the pole target but the chain points away from the pole target. Also, if you move the pole target along the length of the chain (X-axis) it does not ‘weight’ the chain like rotating the bones in it does which would be nice.

This post has been kind of mangled because I tried a couple things and they worked differently but I will try to assemble some data.
The two attached files fing_pole_target and pole_target are different. pole_target.blend is a demonstration file I put together expecting to get the same problem. I did but when I clear the bone roll angles it is fixed. However it is exactly the opposite with fing_pole target.blend which is part of the rig I am concerned with.

There are some notes and an animation in the demo file (pole_target.blend) that may be helpful.



pole_target.blend (377 KB)fing_pole_target.blend (125 KB)

well you can change the roll of the bones (ctrlR to roll in editmode) and you can set the rotation value for the pole target(the offset) So in your case, if in editmode you select the fingerbones and do Ctrl+R 180, the bones would point to the poles, or in the IK constraint fill in 180, should also do the trick.

EDIT: i didn’t bother with the blends tbh, I’ve had little problems with poles, they’re quite straightforward to use. Should be easy enough for you to find out just how to make them do what you want to.

I did the offset and that completely fixed it, thank you very much this will really help me add some more functionality to the rig without extra bones!