View Full Version : Recommended sequence for skinning, blend shapes, driven keys, parenting

02-03-2010, 04:15 AM
Need help figuring our where I've been going wrong with the rigging and animation of a character in Maya 7.0.1

I have a character that needs to fly around like Tinkerbell, blink, facial expressions, wing flapping, legs bending, picking up objects, no walk-cycles though.

The model consists of the following meshes:

2 eyelids, each consisting of 3 eyelashes and one eyelid mesh combined as one poly
2 eyeballs
4 wings, i.e. butterfly
1 Torso from the neck down with limbs
1 Head
1 base hair wig made of about 20 overlapping and intersecting cylinders formed like Shirley Temple curls but capped at the ends.
2 pony tails
2 antennae stems
2 antennae buds at the end of those stems
1 necklace and about 7 jewel meshes combined to make a pendant
1 one piece dress

I'll use Various props to be held in hand, i.e. magic wand, cookie, cupcake

First I had created my facial expression blend shapes with about 7 head copies.
Then I created the skeleton and smooth-bound the torso, limbs, neck to the back root joint.
Painted the skin weights, only my tablet pen worked, the mouse would tear the mesh up.
Created two aim constraint locators for the eyes
Created a controller panel with sliding cubes(slider switches) to use driven keys matching the y axis position of the slider switch with the XYZ rotation of the eyelids.
Added another driven key slider switch to drive the eyeball aim constraint locators, x,y to x,y.

For the ponytails and the antennae, I added 3-joint bones for each from the crown outward.
I added 2-joint bones for each of the wings all coming out of the main skeleton's upper-torso spine bone.
I bound the head to the neck bone using a rigid bind as I did with the wings.
I parented the eyes and eyelids to the head bone.

Everything was working beautifully, wings flapping from my controller rig, eyes looking around, blinking nicely, skin was bound well enough for the minimal shoulder, elbow and knee bends required.

Then I tried moving the character via the back root.
That's when the trouble began. The eyelids rotated out of the head, the eyeballs scaled up and out of the sockets, yikes, what a mess.

So this must be a lesson for me in the sequence of the skinning, blend shapes, parenting, aim constraints, etc?

I've since detached all skins, unparented everything, poly separated almost everything, not the necklace, deleted by little cube sliders and my aim constraints, deleted all history on everything and I'm ready to re-connect everything and get back to animating this character. I think I've done this a couple of times now, started over that is.

Have I described a problem above in my methodology or sequence of parenting, binding, smooth vs rigid binding, aim constraints, blend shapes, driven keys, etc?

I hope someone can set me straight on this.


Kevin C.

02-03-2010, 01:45 PM
maybe you want to double check the deformation order >Status line >LMB+hold on Inputs Button >All Inputs...
Blendshapes should be calculated before the skin cluster. to change the deformation oder- MMB+drag the corresponding entry in the list.

02-03-2010, 03:40 PM
Most of the order in which you do things can be shuffled around a bit, within reason. That said this is more than likely a heirarchy issue. Though without seeing the outliner for the Rig or the Rig itself I can only make guesses.

I would however guess from your description that you do not have a global controller. This can lead to a number of problems.

With any rig that I setup I start with my base.

Global Control - This is the top of my Chain. Almsot eveything is parented under this. If I grab this control I should be able to move everything around a scene turn it in any direction and have no problems. If I do this and there is a problem it tells me right way something is not setup correctly. I should be able to scale everything from this one control as well and it keeps everything in proportion.

Things that are not parented under the global control consist of anything that can be manipulated or controlled by the joint system. This is generally only the Blendshapes and Bound Meshes.

Smooth binding Vs. Rigid Binding -- The difference is in the number of bone weights that can infulence or control a given vertex. Rigid binding can only effect 1 Bone weight per vertex. Its an all or nothing solution. Whereas Smooth binding allows you multiple bone weights per vertex. It almsot every case you are always better off with smooth binding. You can always mimic rigid binding with smooth binding.

02-03-2010, 06:31 PM
Thanks for helping guys...

When I select an eyelid and look at its input operations I see...

Display layer
Joint cluster(neckcluster 1)
Tweak (tweak10)

Node state = normal and filter = list for everything.

Even after parenting the skeleton to a new locator, all the stuff moves and scales appropriately except for the eyelids and eyes that move and rotate and scale but at a different rate than everything else.

Is there a place I can upload my scene for some help troubleshooting the eye and eyelid problem?

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02-03-2010, 06:31 PM
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