View Full Version : Character Rigging Tutorials

07 July 2003, 01:39 AM
I'm starting up a new section of my web site called the C.R.O.I. Project. It stands for Character Rigging Online Information. I want to collect different ways of rigging various parts of a character and putting them up on the site with step by step tutorials. What I would like is for some of you Max heads, especially noobies, to go through the techniques I have so far and let me know if they make sense and actually work for you. Also, if you learn something new that would be great to know.

Right now I just have information on rigging the eyes. I'm doing this in what little free time I have and I wanted to start easy. So I know it's not the sexiest subject, but you'd be surprised what you can do to with a pair of eyes.

And if anyone sees any typos or broken links, or has any suggestions let me know. I don't have a link on the main site yet because I want to make sure it's useful information, organized in a coherent way. So here's the direct link...

07 July 2003, 07:25 AM
Great tutor man...:thumbsup:
Glad to shared with us...:beer:

07 July 2003, 07:44 AM
Aha... great tutorials. buttrock: :buttrock: :buttrock:
And what about legs arms etc. ??
Next weekend?
To be continued ? .............................

07 July 2003, 07:12 PM
Thanks for the response. I'll be going over every part of the character (well, almost every part ;) ) in the coming weeks and months. I don't know exactly how long it will take because I'm doing this in what little free time I have. But I'll post updates here as I add them.

Also, would it be helpful to anyone if I made a zip files available that contained the html pages and graphics for each section? Seems like that would make it more convenient to download and be able to look at whenever you want.

08 August 2003, 12:29 AM
Nice! I'm at work right now and didn't have a chance to actually do them step by step, but will when I get home tonight. Especially like the chart with pros and cons of each method. Will let you know if I have any troubles, but looks very easy to follow. Any chance of eyelids or blinking action in the future?

Thanks again nice info!


08 August 2003, 12:38 AM
I plan on doing a bones based facial rig in the future, so blinking eyes will be taken care of there.

I'm putting together a forearm setup next, since that's relatively easy also and I know of at least two different ways of doing it.

Any feedback you can offer on the actual step by step instructions would be great. :)

08 August 2003, 06:22 PM

Performed step by step operations last night to see if any troubles occured. Absolutely no troubles whatsoever!!

:buttrock: :buttrock: :buttrock:

Keep us updated as you progress, I have your site bookmarked but always forget to check in every once in a while. Great work and really appreciate the info!

08 August 2003, 11:32 PM
That's really good that you didn't run into any trouble. I try to be as clear as I can. I hate tutorials where you get stuck on something that doesn't make sense, the author skips a step, or that are just plain wrong in some areas.

Thanks for the feedback.

08 August 2003, 01:37 AM
I updated the C.R.O.I. project with a new section on how to rig the arm three different ways. It mainly focuses on the forearm, which I know a lot of people have trouble with.

Plus, I actually just discovered one more way to rig the forearm using SplineIK, but I'll add that after I've tried it for myself.

Anyway check it out and tell me what you think.

08 August 2003, 01:07 AM
:lightbulb great tut!

08 August 2003, 08:07 PM
Hey man! ran into one problem on the 2nd part. You say to take bones 2 and 3 and copy them(step one). But when I try to move them over (step 2-3) they are still connected at the elbow. I just selected the bones and shift clicked to copy them, I got the same window as stated but perhaps I didn't do something right?

I'm not sure how to take pictures in max and of course bones wont render, but I took your picture and circled the area they are connected to show what I was talking about.

I also noticed bone 6 (on mine) is the one on the wrist and not the forearm like yours.

The only other small problem I had so far was on step 16(easy mode). I had the dummy still selected from the previous step and didn't know to go back the the IK chain before assigning the target. The dummy had no controls at all and I got confused a bit. That was just the first time I had seen an object with nothing to modify, very strange indeed. Usually there is 15 pulldown menus with 15 options each, lol.

Coming along nicely btw!!!



P.S. This is what we will be studying in this Wednesdays class and I appreciate you helping me get ahead. The less I have to learn in one session the better!

08 August 2003, 08:25 PM

Not sure if this is the right way. but after messing around a bit more I think I may have found a work-around. If I grab all 3 bones I can then copy properly. I then just delete the top bone from both sets and can keep rolling along. :buttrock:

Too hot and now must go swimming, but will try to finish rest tonight and see if it works. TTFN! (Ta Ta For Now) :cool:


08 August 2003, 09:02 PM
Hey, thanks for the comments. I really appreciate your feedback. First off, I added some more instruction on step 16 of the simple arm setup. I did overlook a step there. Thanks for keeping me honest. :)

About the second rig with the radius and ulna, did you create the hand bones before copying the forearm bones? I noticed that if you create the upper arm bone, the forearm bone and then right-click to get the extra bone, and then you copy the last two bones without creating the hand bones, then the number of the new bones is like you say, with number 06 being the small bone instead of the big one.

But if you create the hand bones before copying, then it numbers them like I have it. But either way, when you move the copied bones, select the big bone and not the small one becuase the big bone is the parent and will move both of them at the same time. While the little bone is the child and will move by itself. You shouldn't have to copy all three bones and then delete one, no matter what they are named.

I tried to clarify that a bit in steps 3 and 4.

Also, I've added a zip file containing all three arm rigs. I don't know if you've seen that yet. I hope you have Max 5.

And about taking pictures of the screen, you can use "Ctrl-Alt-Print Screen", and then go into Photoshop (or whatever) make a new document, and then paste the screenshot. Or you can actually render the bones. Just select all the bones, right-click and go into Properties, and then select "renderable". That should do it. But of course, the dummies and helpers won't render. There's a way around that too. Go into the Animation menu on top, down to Make Preview, and select Helpers from the Display in Preview section. Then use a custom range of like 0 to 1 and select Custom File Type for the Output so you can save it as a jpg or whatever. This is a good way to render out animation movies of bone setups also. I've done that for my demo reel.

08 August 2003, 01:47 AM
I just update the arm section with another way to rig the forearm. This uses the SplineIK Solver and is very easy to set up.

08 August 2003, 09:04 PM
This is just great, I love the overview with the pros/cons listed out. Ive read on so many different ways to rig without any attention to the whys and why nots. The the tutorial itself are great. Maybe you could set up a mailing list for when you add a new tutorial?

08 August 2003, 09:38 PM
Maybe you could set up a mailing list for when you add a new tutorial?

Done. :)

Thanks for the feedback and the suggestion. :thumbsup:

08 August 2003, 10:08 PM
Now, thats service.:buttrock:

I signed up. Maybe you could have one for "Updates" and one for "New Tutorials". Or keep it simple how it is. Depending on your frequency of updates some may just want the new ones, and or it will make your frequency of updates include more than just a fix or two.

Nice work......................

08 August 2003, 10:21 PM
I doubt I'll be updating or adding new ones very often. Maybe every couple of weeks at the most. I've got three different projects going on right now, aside from my real job, so time isn't easy to come by. But I do want to get the entire skeleton up there eventually. So be patient! :)

08 August 2003, 06:06 AM
hey just wanted to followup with you as well. Please ignore that last post of mine saying the bones were welded together at the elbow. I tried your steps when I was in class and it worked just like you said it would. I then went home figuring it was some sort of bug since they are using 5.1 and I'm only using 5.0. But then I just downloaded your model and opened the simple one. It looked the same as mine but of course it works fine! So clearly there is something wrong with my model, I can reproduce the "bug" everytime with my version though. But clearly nothing is wrong with your steps or logic.

Anyways i went through the last part step by step and it was easy even for a newb like me to figure out. Then went on to the complicated version and had no troubles whatsoever. Thanks again!


P.S. If you're looking for requests. A slider applied to the wrist of your complicated model to control rotation would be spiffy! Not absolutely needed but it seems to make animating easier. I'm sure a lot of other newbs would love to see that trick!

:buttrock: :buttrock: :buttrock:

08 August 2003, 10:31 PM
Deathcricket: I'm glad everything's working for you now. About adding a slider to control the wrist rotation, the way I've created the forearm setup it's not possible to rotate the wrist independantly from the hand. So there wouldn't be any point to it. I know some people like being able to rotate the wrist seperately from hand, but to me it's just a waist of time. The main reason for the rotation slider would be to fix the forearm rotating strangely when you position the hand really far back or really far forward. But first of all, don't do that. :) It's unnatural for the hand to bend more the 90 degrees backward or forward. Senondly, you can bypass this problem entirely by rotating in Gimbal space instead of Local space. Try it out, it works like a charm.

After saying all that, I might add it as an option anyway since people seem to like it. ;)

I'm also going to add an option of adding a muscle bone to the upper arm so that the bicep area of the mesh will actually bulge when the arm bends, but without resorting to special morph deformers. This "bones only" solution is especially useful when exporting a character to a game like Unreal Tournament 2003, which doesn't recognize modifiers or the special options in Skin or Physique that let you do this.

08 August 2003, 03:10 AM
great tou!I love you!:drool:

08 August 2003, 04:19 AM
Have you thought of adding a tut for skinning? or tips to make a mesh deform more realisticaly?

08 August 2003, 04:37 AM
making a mesh deform more realisticly with being skinned would be very informative. ;)

08 August 2003, 06:06 AM
I'll pay attention to the board

08 August 2003, 04:59 PM
Yes, it's definitely part of the plan to add skinning and modelling information as well. But of course you need a skeleton to skin to, so that's why I'm concentrating on the bones right now. I'll try to pick up the pace a little. I wish I could take a week off and just create tutorials, but unfortunately I can't, so just be patient everyone. And thanks a lot for all the feedback. :thumbsup:

09 September 2003, 12:01 AM
I just finished with a new section of my character rigging tuts. This one covers the fingers of the hand and how to autmate their animation using spinners or sliders. And I have two different ways of doing it, with Wiring Parameters or Reactor Controllers.

Enjoy. :beer:

09 September 2003, 03:34 AM
oh nice i see that now

is very good

05 May 2005, 08:24 AM
Wow ! Thanks!
I already knew about this site, but lost the link when I changed my computer :(
Happy to see it's stil online ;)

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