View Full Version : scaling characters

01 January 2003, 05:16 PM
hey fellas, i an creating a character in maya right now, that i would like to duplicate and use as several other different characters. how would i rig the character so i can easily scale the whole body, or parts of it, to make a seperate character without re-rigging one?

thanks a lot,


01 January 2003, 08:55 PM
I am not sure how you have setup your character, but what I usually do is have a control for the whole character, which will consist of everything parented under the character. Good Luck!!

01 January 2003, 10:05 PM
Thanks for the reply Loked, im trying to see if there is a way to lengthen or shorten arms or legs or spines, and generally change proportions. a little beyond general i dont have to unbind, alter the model, the skelaton, and paint weights again...


01 January 2003, 08:52 AM
This might take a bit of time to setup, but can definitely be workwhile in a larger workflow. I´ve never done this, although I can imagine at least some things necessary for this kind of character management. First thing I´d do would be to create the "standard" binding rig: all variations of the character will derive from this rig, and number of joints and joint names will rename identical for each "different" version. So a good skeleton naming scheme would be a must here. Then I would define certain joints as the "variation" joints, ie these joints will be modified to create different versions of the character (femur, upper arm, spine, would all be good examples). So after you make sure all the rotation axises are correct on your binding skeleton, to create the variations would be just a question of importing the standard skeleton and assigning variables to these "variation" joints´ lengths (femur.tx, upperArm.tx, ecc.) A good UI for this would also be helpful (import character with arms X-length, legs Y-length, and spine Z-lenght).

This is won´t really help you though for the setup. Here you´ll need some automatic rig creation tools which you might have to write yourself. There are also scripts available for transferring skin weights among different characters. These can also be very helpful here.

Maybe my friend Tom will also contribute to this thread, as this is something he´s actually done in a character pipeline.

Gotta´ run now!

tom hain
01 January 2003, 04:28 PM
hi there,

I ` ve already done a rig for a character to build an army of generic soldiers.
It` s basically a matter of grouping your joints, deformers and controlls in a smart way. To scale the whole character put the complete rig under a group and scale it.
If you want to give your arms a different scale, place the arm joins and controls (eg ik Handle) under a group with the pivot at the shoulders position, and you can scale the complete arm. Howerver this works only for uniform scaling. To vary arm thickness you can scale sy/sz of the joints.
You may use constraints instead of paranting to connect the arms to the body if the arms should not be effected by the body scale. You can proceed similar with other body parts.
The legs should be in a group with pivot on the ground.
David is right. Its a good idea to connect your body variation stuff to a collection of attributes. You can use expressions, driven keys or direct connections to make one attr control for example the scale of the upper body and the heads position at the same time. It is also a good idea to collect all variation attributes with a character node to create a library of body poses.

building one character and creating variations has it`s limitatons of course. But it is very usefull to built crowds or an army. Hero characters that are very differnt, I would rig seperately, with the help scripts to automate parts of the rigging process.

have fun


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