View Full Version : Calling all animators... What is your preference?

08 August 2004, 02:25 AM
Ok, this is sort of a repost from something I wrote about a year ago. Right now I am setting up a character rig that I hope to make downloadable in the not so distant future. I am calling on all you animators to give me ideas in what you like to see in a character rig. I have my own personal preferences, but I havent animated anything professionally in close to a year.

Please let me know which of these options you prefer, and be sure to let me know why.

The ultimate rigging question:

What do YOU prefer to see in a character rig?

Curves, locators or handles for controls?
FK back? IK spline for the spine? Somewhere in between?
How many different controls do you prefer on the hands and fingers? How many bones in your hand?
How do you prefer to control gimbal? Extra control or a tweak in the channel box?
Automatic shoulder, manual shoulder? Both?
Stretchy spine, arms and legs?
Primitives for a lo-res character or 'un-smoothed' character?
Automatic muscle jiggle, hand controls, both?
Are you comfortable with mel scripts that come with the character? (Character GUI's, special controls, character swapping MELs like from the Jason S. Pipline?)

My personal rig favorites:

IK spine (With stretchiness as an option, turned off)
I prefer curves for controls on characters. I love easy to understand visuals.
For facial, I love Osipa's method. Slightly modified for my own use.
I absolutely must have a "look ahead" control for the head.
I have a gimbal control that you can turn on and off as needed.
I don't usually set up an FK/IK switch for the legs. Would most of you find this handy?

I'de be interested to see what everyone else likes, and what makes life easier for you as an animator...!

Mike R

08 August 2004, 10:59 PM
1. Whatever is easier to grab. It means curves in most cases
2. Stretchy FK spine
3. 1 control for general rotation of the hand, sliders with pose storing options for fingers. NO IK on hands/fingers please.
4. Hmm.. extra control. Those channel boxes are Maya specific
5. Manual shoulder
6. Yes, yes and yes. And if I grab middle spine control it should stretch. When I grab hips and move them around it should stretch as well etc... same with arms. The rig should be completely free to move around.
No need to switch it on and off, leave it on all the time. Maybe for hardcore human animation I'd not want this option, but usually it's very usefull. Stretchy head too (remeber about keeping volume)
7. Primitives are ok with semi hires skin preview to check extremes
8. None of those are really needed, esp hands. Depends on character, but face should not be automated in any way (jiggle etc).
9. I am not comfortable with any scripts, not to mention mel. I can only copy things from command log and reuse them if a particular software allows it. Of course I can push buttons, hehe. Character guis are usually not needed.
Can I add one?:) Thanks.. IK for legs and that is. The rest should be FK with ability to switch arms temporary to IK. Automated foot rool is not needed too,

Of course all of above are my personal preferences.

08 August 2004, 12:51 AM
I like working with IK/FK switch for the legs like how lowman script has it. The reason being is that it's easier to get nice arcs when you are animating the character spinning or moving in air. I find it very handy!

I am not too comfortable with loading heaps of scripts just to get a rig ready for animating. Character GUI script is good how lowman and Generic rig has them. However I don't really like to use scripts like character swapping from the Jason S. Pipline. But I love Jason's facial setup which is applied on rigs such as the IK-Joe and package man from (

I don't use IK spine ALOT (or at all) except in dancing scenes, stretchy FK spine would be nice. What would be better is if you can switch between IK/FK spine via a click of a button.

It would be great having a hand control toggle which you can switch between a more general control to a more detailed control. The general control will let you animate finger and thumb curls, etc. Whereas the more technical control will allow you to key each parts of the finger and thumb closer in detail.

More to come (when I think of some)...

08 August 2004, 01:54 AM
heya Mike

1. Speed. If rig alone (without any geo) canot deliver 25 ftp in viewport, I have to make playblasts. If I make playblasts I loose time. Lot ot time. At the end, if you want to make great animation you need to put keyframes at almost every frame. Even the most advanced rig wont help you much at this stage. But realtime scrubbing will.

2. Stretchy limbs and spine which keeps volume. Whats the point of stretching the spine like a tube y scale and why people make rigs this way is beyond my understanding. It doesen't really look like cartoon if arm doesen't thin when you elongate it.

3. Manual shoulders, and for that matter, everything manual:-) Actually predefined hand controls can come handy as long as they can be turned of:)

4 Osipa method. Flexible and more fun to animate.

5. In last 5 years I only once needed Fk legs. Those are really rarely occasions. Not needed in my opinion

Number 1 is important to me. But 2 and 4 heavily confrontates it. Well...:shrug:

08 August 2004, 10:31 PM
Funny, today they we just had a meeting at the studio I work for changing the character Rig :)

Anyway, I think this is very personal but my favorite is:

*keep it simple*

I cant stand rigs full of controlers and SDK, they just slow down the workflow an make it harder to edit animation later on.

- for controls I dont mind using whatever because I make selection sets, so, Locators are fine.
- FK back, stretchy.
- controlers and SDK are great for hands, I use them. As far as bones, that depends on your characters.
- Extra control for gimbal.
- Manual shoulders. "automatic" stuff usually isnt for me.
- semi-high res and primitives for viewing.

Well, whatever rig I use, I always try to keep simple and with less controls possible. COntrols are there to help you with tedious/small stuff, not to automate all the process. Simples rigs are also easier/faster/cleaner to edit later on.

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