View Full Version : need a little help riggin a paper cut out dude

assistant pimp
07 July 2005, 06:46 AM
I have a dude that that i just sketched out. Basically he is going to be a snap to model because he is going to be a paper cut out.....This is the key, This is going to be my very first animation ever in 3d. So I was wondering if you guys would be so kind of point me in the right direction as far as rigging this guy. As you could imagine a paper guy is flat so movements are not going to typical. Very little dorsal movements. I guess I just need to know where to start with LW and character animation. Any tuts or plugins or resources that you guys could recommend would be great. I of course will be looking around as well.


07 July 2005, 07:44 PM
There is a lot of good examples included with Lightwave on the extra content CDs (LW8... LW7 also came with good examples). While these aren't step-by-step instructions, you can see some of the things that are possible, and you have the source files to rip apart, tweak, and otherwise play with. I would recomend looking at the scene files to see animations in action, and how they were put together (most animation is set up in Layout). Also you should look at the models themselves in Modeller. That way you can see what layers there are, or what objects in the same layer are disconnected. The Boxx bot is a good example... one layer... seven or so animated parts. This was done with bones and setting the weight map of the individual parts which were going to be animated.

If you are new to LW animation (and not just new to character animation) start small. Make a simple box and play with keyframes and the way tweening occurs by changing curve types in the graph editor (in Layout).

If your project doesn't look right at first don't give up. Remember that animation is a long and often painful task. It is worth it in the end.

Finally, you should also cheat like hell. If there is a "wrong" way to animate something so that it *looks* right... then it wasn't wrong. Animation is an illusion. In the Final Fantasy movie they had at least three different hair rigs for the main character so that the hair would appear correct in different scenes and environments.

assistant pimp
07 July 2005, 08:43 PM
Many thanks for the insight. I am looking at my LW 7.5 cds now. And it seems I dont have what you are describing in the form of samples. I have 2 cds an install for the MAC and Intel. I dont have a mac so I looked on the intel cd. And didnt see anything but online documentation....I looked at the back of the gigantic manual and the skinny motion mixer book and there were no cds. Am I missing something?

Anyway my friend swears by this forum and he has gotten quite good from the help here. But I notice my topics get little or no attention. Am I in the wrong section? Is there a section for the extremely new guys? I have had 7.5 for quite sometime but was never interested in 3d until I got into Swift. I quicky eclipsed the abilities of swift and so here I am in LW's yard. But it is quite a jump from swift.

07 July 2005, 11:38 PM
Yo werent in class Anyway, this is the place to ask beginner or not. Just be patient people will chime in when they can. I cant wait to see your paper dude.

07 July 2005, 02:48 PM
I haven't used Swift, but LW offers quite the toolbelt for doing 3D.

Okay, you say you have 7.5. In the content directory that LW installs there should be models and scenes files. In LW8 these came on two seperate CDs (not counting the dozen-or-so examples that were installed from the installation CD). I don't remember how extensive 7.5's demonstrations of rigging were. It seems that there was some stuff, but it has been awhile since I used 7.5. Anyway, in your content directory is a series of folders with names like "space," "motion mixer," and things like that. In these folders you should be able to find scene files and the models that go into those scenes. These are one good starting place for seeing what LW can do and get hints as to how to do it.

Have you started modelling your character yet? I don't always have the most time available, but if you are patient I would be more than happy to try to help get you up to speed on what you are trying to do.

Also, another good resource for both plug-ins and tutorials for LW is (

assistant pimp
07 July 2005, 07:07 PM

That would be great and yes I am very patient. I have not really started doing too much in the modelling arena of the character yet. Still kinda in the sketch phase, basically trying to decide how I am going to do the eyes and the mannerism (personality) of the character. But I would imagine the model would not be too difficult in theory, but I know there are some hidden gems of knowledge I will find out along the way. I would really appreciate any help or insight.

Ok I see what you are saying about the samples. I forgot to look in the install directory. I was looking directly on the cd. Makes sense now (sorry for the brain fart)....


assistant pimp
07 July 2005, 09:05 PM
Just bumping this in case SirReality is still available to help a poor soul who needs it.

07 July 2005, 10:11 PM
As far as animating the figure goes, couldn't you use endomorphs for some of the movements?

assistant pimp
07 July 2005, 10:47 PM
thanks artistic.. The problem is I really dont know where to start. Endomorphs is yet something new I just heard about :( . Seems like this lil personal project is too ambitious for me. I am getting the hang of modelling and now I am reading up on texturing (thanks Leigh for the great book). But animating seems like the hardest thing I have looked into since my 3d experience began.

07 July 2005, 10:54 PM
A great guide is in the book Inside Lightwave 7. There is a chapter dedicated to endomorphs and morph mixer.

07 July 2005, 02:51 AM
Yes, by all means, try to buy the book Inside Lightwave (now up to version 8). It's a great resource and will help you in a lot of different areas.

With this character you say he's suppose to look like he's made out of cut-out paper, like South Park? Could you maybe post a render or screenshot of how the model currently looks like?

assistant pimp
07 July 2005, 03:56 AM
Well its pretty much just a sketch at this point. The modelling is a piece of cake. He will move not like South park but imagine how the gingerbread man moves in Shrek. Basically dorsal movement in 3d space. If tat makes sense....I'll see if I can either scan the image or comp it in AI.

07 July 2005, 02:40 PM
How is it going, Assistant Pimp? I see you seem happy with modelling so far and are looking into texturing. Have you created your model, yet?

Below is a little description of Lightwave's endomorphs. Although, for your character I think I would recommend using bones. Anyway, the steps you would want to take are something like this: model character (save this step as a backup in case any further steps go bad), texture the character (save a backup here, too), set up bones (probably using skelegons in modeller, I find this easier, but others like to work in layout, save a backup), rig in layout, then animate to your hearts content. Another nice thing about backups is you can load them later, make minor (or major) changes, and end up with a whole new character!

I also see endomorphs have been mentioned. Morphs are based around morph targets. Say you have a cube. And then a morph target is created with the top four points of the cube lowered about half way (creating a squashed cube). When morphs are animated it would start with the cube and then over time the points of the cube would be moved until they match the squashed morph target. This is really good for things like facial animation. Lightwave supports morph targets stored inside of the model file and calls this endomorphs. You can define more than one morph target in the file (mouth morphs, eye morphs, etc) and these morphs can be mixed together when the model is animated in layout. There are some tricks to animating morphs. Lightwave interprets the between steps in the animation as a straight motion between the basic model (starting location of all of the points) and the morph (final location of all of the points). Because of this morphs which should curve when they are animated must be forced by one of a couple of different techniques.

Please post any questions you have here and if I am not able to answer them I'm sure someone else will be able to chime in with good information.

CGTalk Moderation
07 July 2005, 02:40 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.