View Full Version : Renderware and character rigging help needed

09 September 2002, 01:50 AM
Anyone here familiar with the animation system used by Renderware?

I am trying to animate several humanoid characters using Character Studio to allow re-targeting of animations to other rigs.

Renderware uses rigid binding for the character skins with link blending as an option (up to 4 links). Naturally link blending is more cpu intensive, so they warn users to use it sparingly.

When I animate the arms, they tend to twist and shear at the shoulder and the shoulder joint seems to want to let the arm crunch into the upper torso (as painful to look at as it is to describe). Different combinations of blended links helps but doesn't fix the problem entirely. For example, I am blending the upper arm with the clavicle to smooth the top of the shoulder, and the upper arm is blended with the chest/spine to smooth the arm pit (the biggest problem area, btw). Any and all help is appreciated.

09 September 2002, 06:11 AM
I use Renderware at work although i dont use Character studio with Renderware (we create our own rigs but still stick to 4 weights per vertex). I used to use Netimmerse with character studio so it shouldnt be much different.

The shoulders are pretty much a common problem no matter what engine / package etc you are using.

The best things i've found are:

1. Get good mesh topology happening on the shouldes. pay close attention to where real muscles sit and put your edges where they mimic the real life creases or joins.

2. Volume is the key. Dont worry too much about geometry going through the body or ending up with a slight kink. The thing people notice is if the joins pinch and get skinny, or shear too much.

3. Dont forget to move the clavicles. Move your arms up as high as you can touching hands above your head. Your shoulder joint should be pressing on your ear. That means your clavicle is well and truly angled upwards. Same as if you push your arms forward or back..the clavicles move heaps a lot of people forget to animate them.

4. Figure out your meshes range of motion. If it never has to do a motion dont weight your vertices for it.

5. Build your mesh with bends in it. And usually in close to its most common pose... If your character has bent knees most of the time...then model it with bent knees, that way your mesh topology is already more likely to help with the range of motion it will use and you'll have the polygons where those joints are going to move. A lot of people build their characters with the arms stright out. I dont i build them with the arms angles down at about 45 degrees with bends at the elbows as well. You'll find you will model the shoulders better to accomodate motion that way.... plus how many game characters spend most of their time with their arms stright out to the sides....

6. Add more bones. Some rigs we've created have and extra "correcting bone" near the shoulder similar to wrist rotate bones you migh have seen around.... if the shoulder shears too much you can correct to some degree bu rotating the extra bone.

7. Weight your own vertices: I hate envelopes, i think they're next to useless.... I used to hand key all my own vertices with CS now i use the skin modifier and vertice paint em myself.... so much more control.

8. You cant please everyone all the time. Sometimes you'll just have to get it 80% there and move on. If the shoulders look bad on 3 frames out of 30 then ask yourself "how much will people notice.... how is the camera looking at it?" Its hard when you're looking at your work in max to figure out whats overwork or not... Try to weight it roughly then chuck it in the game if possible. If people notice it the fix it... If no-one does then chances are no-one will.

Sorry about the general ramblings, I realise a lot of this is pretty much standard knowledge stuff i just got carried away. I hope some of this helps. Otherwise post some grabs of your mesh (topology and the problem when weighted)



09 September 2002, 10:26 AM
Yah, I have tried a lot of the standard stuff (i.e. manual vertex weighting, turning edges to match musculature, etc.). I am probably going to try moving the arms into their extreme positions tomorrow and tweaking from there. I will post a screengrab of the wireframe shoulder (distorted and not) with the results.

Thanks for the advice. It never hurts to repeat info, no matter how basic, 'cause I am always surprised at how many common errors I make when working bleary eyed at 3:00 a.m (like making a 344 polygon foot that never takes up more than 1/50th of the screen).

Mike RB
09 September 2002, 05:27 PM
Were using RW with maya. Good stuff, no complaints with RW.

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