View Full Version : TSM / cMuscleSystem / Other Plugs Useful for Hyper-Real Character Rigging or Not?

10 October 2007, 12:18 AM
Hi guys,

I have been slowly (but surely) working my way through some character rigging/setup books for Maya. Having read through a lot of material, it seems that in general, the authors create their own rigs from scratch. (The 2001 Maya Master Class - "Integrating an Animation Rig into a Creature pipeline" also had some fascinating information creating a procedural animation rig)

Do plugins like TheSetupMachine 2 or Comet's cMuscle system (which is seemingly not available anymore...) actually help when it comes to rigging "hyper-real" characters, or are they more of a hindrance because they limit what the rigger can do (things have to be done the plugins' "way", and the rigger is tied to that)?

If they do help, would they help working together (ie would you use both together), or would it have to be one or the other?

It would seem that by using these plugins, you would certainly limit yourself when it comes to things like scripting procedural rigs. Is this true or not?

I am not an animator or rigger, but I would like to try and learn more about the character pipeline, and actually create a custom procedural rig system for humans - mainly just for fun (I know... I had a life once...) to get a deeper understanding of how it all works.



11 November 2007, 06:47 PM
In response, all of these tools cmuscle, the setup machine, etc. are all tools in the toolbox of a character TD, They are not the be all end all for every solution and in most cases, can play well with any customized rigging system.

I work at a large game studio and we use a procedural human rig system, as well as the setup machine. So, when we need a human or quadruped we can use our custom universal human rig, but for say a dragon or huge alien worm, or fish, we can use the setup machine which we've integrated into a general creature rig system. As for Cmuscle, it has been acquired by Autodesk, it is a great muscle skinning system. So, when you need muscle skinning you use it, and when you don't need it don't use it.

If you are just beginning, please work in small steps, first download some awesome creatures, and make some great animation rigs for them, and have some animators test them. That alone is a huge challenge, then try making a rig for two similar type creatures that can be used for both.

Good luck, and start simple to keep from being overwhelmed. The rig I use has been developed over years and has an entire codebase that supports it, so to make that from scratch would be a long process.

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11 November 2007, 06:47 PM
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