View Full Version : The BEST spine rig?

02 February 2005, 10:43 PM
...For a cartoon character?

Im working with a little squishy biped guy, and I've rigged just about everything how I like except for the spine.
Im a bit new to rigging, I'v tried making some constraint bones that lay directly ontop of each spine joint. I then oreint constrain them to the bones driving the mesh, and then connect thier rotation to my spine control. This usually works well for rotations, but I need somthing that will work well with translations as well (for squash&stretch).

I've heard about using clusters and and spline Ik but Im a bit clueless when it come to using those things to make a good spine rig.

Any help/suggestions/links would be great.

02 February 2005, 01:59 AM
You might try the "divine spine" tutorial at

02 February 2005, 04:03 PM
Yeah, that'd be my recommendation too. It takes a little work, but it gives you really nice results.

02 February 2005, 04:22 PM
and/or take a look at David Walden's: IK-Spline spine setup (

- Also, the whole setup is nicely automated as part of his dwRiggingTools ( , you've got a complete modular rigging suite there (works with your own rigs too)


02 February 2005, 12:06 AM
I like pure FK. Easy to setup and animate. Stability can be a life saver in a production.

03 March 2005, 01:29 AM
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I tried the second tut posted, and it worked out just as the tut said it would, however the character Im working on doesnt have a head and only 3 spine joints. I messed around for a bit and finally I found somthing that works fairly well (havent tested with anims yet though).

First I made 3 locators and moved each to a spine joint, and then parent constrained each joint to its respective locator. The first locator's rotation would be driven by the cv spine control via an orient constraint, and the second and third locators would rotate as well, but increased by an exponential amount due to expressions. That pretty much took care of the rotation of the spine. For the translation I just made another cv control and used it as a driver in a set driven key attached to the 3 locators' translation attributes. So Now I can squash and stretch my spine and rotate.

I hope this works out come animation time :)
ps expressions bad?

03 March 2005, 09:32 AM
expressions bad? Yes EVIL !!:twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

03 March 2005, 03:45 PM
Yes EVIL !!:twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

uh oh... can you tell me why?

03 March 2005, 04:21 PM
He's just joking.

Expressions are good. However because they have to be runtime evaluated per update, be it you changing something, or moving to the next frame, and because they are not as efficient as compiled code, expressions can be slow(er). So if you are doing simple math, you might want to investigate using utility nodes instead.

03 March 2005, 05:36 PM
Ah okay,So I guess I should use a mult/div utility node?

03 March 2005, 08:49 PM
Yes, utility nodes are a better solution for simple connections/operations.

03 March 2005, 09:10 PM
I did do a quick test with 3 cubes. Is this how your supposed to make connectons with utility nodes?:

I dragged cube1 node to the mult/div node and chose default from the selection menu. The connection editor popped up and I connected the rotate attributes of the cube1 to the 'input1' values of the m/d node for x,y, and z. i then dragged the m/d node1 onto the cube2 node and chose defalut, connecting the input1 xyz attributes to the cube2 rx,ry,rz attributes. i then opened the m/d node in the attribute editor and changed the 'input2' x.y. and z fields from 0 to 1.5. This created the desired effect, I then created another m/d node to connect cube2 to cube3.

I achieved the effect i wanted, but i've never done things like this, so i just wanted to make sure this is the 'norm'.

Also, one thing I saw was that after rotating cube1, and then setting its roations back to 0,0,0 cube 2 appeared to still be rotated. When I re-rotated cube1 the second cube popped back to 0,0,0 before continuing to follow cube 1 in rotation.

I'm afreid this will happen with the joints as well?
TIA for any advice.:)

03 March 2005, 10:12 PM
Ho sorry..of course I was joking..:)
expression are good I use them all the time, but mostly for dynamics, not for rigging, most of stuff you need for rigging can be found in utility node they are awsome.
take a look at multipyDoubleAttr addDoubleAttr ect..usually forgoten they are quite intersting for doing simple math operation.


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