Learning how to rig

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  02 February 2013
Learning how to rig

Hey all,

I know there's some stuff out there but I wanted your advice.

Are there any good tutorials / sites out there that you'd recommend for me to get started in rigging and adding bones to objects etc? I suppose I need to learn the basics before I look at something like Cactus Dans rigs etc. I've always found that tutorials I seem to find usually skip the basics...

Thanks in advance.

  02 February 2013
If you want to start with easier stuff you might find the tutorial I made for Maxon last year useful. In that I cover using the character builder (R13 and newer) to rig a simple character. Apart from using the builder I explain the fundamental principles of weight painting which is something a lot of people struggle with at first.


To be honest, most of what I learned about rigging I got from tutorials like the 'Animation Friendly Rigging' series by Jason Schleiffer. Those tuts use Maya but the principles transfer to Cinema almost 1:1 for the most part once you know where things are. Cactus Dans tutorials are also excellent for teaching the 'why' as well as the 'how' but the series does not currently include weight painting (I don't think the AFR tuts do either).

There's also some general stuff on my site if you click on the 'c4dTools' link in my signature.

Hope that helps,
  02 February 2013
Years ago I was only able to badly rig a models based on random tutorials and then I bought Cactus Dan's tools and sat down and watched his rigging tutorials series which you can find here

Those tutorials are quite comprehensive for a novice and Dan is a great teacher. After following those tutorials I've been able to rig everything thats been thrown at me so far.

I find Dan's tools easier to use than the built in tools but that might just be because I've been using them for so long. Having said that I highly recommend his tools and those videos to learn the basics of rigging.
M dot Strange
Independent CG Filmmaker & Game Developer
M dot Strange dot CoM
  02 February 2013
Well thanks for the suggestions guys. I'm gonna take a good look at both of those.

I was actually hoping i'd find a tutorial that explained the real basics of attaching bones / skin to an object and then being able to distort the geometry with the bones. I would have thought there would be lots of stuff like this but there doesn't seem to be.

Last edited by tonyg3d : 02 February 2013 at 01:39 PM.
  02 February 2013
Originally Posted by tonyg3d: I was actually hoping i'd find a tutorial that explained the real basics of attaching bones / skin to an object and then being able to distort the geometry with the bones. I would have thought there would be lots of stuff like this but there doesn't seem to be.

That's what I referred to above when I talked about weight painting, my tutorial does cover that!

If you want to go further with it after that this book is great (pretty advanced though and Maya-centric again).Lots of great info about joint placement and other things that can make a big difference :http://www.amazon.com/Inspired-3D-A...s/dp/1592001165

  02 February 2013
Thanks for all the advice Brian. I'm going to check it out now!

  02 February 2013
Cineversity has also some good rigging tutorials. But also the in-built tutorial of c4d is good to get the basics. The R13Character tool has streamlined the workflow so much that it is now really easy to a rig a typical (human) character.

Last edited by doppelmonster : 02 February 2013 at 10:06 AM.
  02 February 2013
Realistic Human Rigging from Vertex Pusher:

Digital tutors has a bunch:
  • Facial Rigging in CINEMA 4D
  • Animating Object Transitions in CINEMA 4D (different kind of rigging, still handy)
  • Utilizing the Muscle System in CINEMA 4D
  • Rigging Quadrupeds in CINEMA 4D
  • Creating Fast Rigs with the Character Object in CINEMA 4D
  • Reusing Custom Rigs with the Character Component in CINEMA 4D
  • Beginner's Guide to Rigging in CINEMA 4D
  • Rigging Cartoon Characters in CINEMA 4D
  • Rigging Wings in CINEMA 4D
  • Introduction to Character Rigging in CINEMA 4D
  02 February 2013
You actually attach ( drive ) the geo objects to the joints.
Rather then attach joints to objects. primitive lesson #1 for free!

All my favorites ~ Cinema 4D R13, After Effects, Photoshop CS5, Lightroom, Photomatic

Last edited by mayajunky : 02 February 2013 at 10:47 PM.
  02 February 2013
I'd also suggest just trying out non-deformation rigging to begin with also. Find a mechanical object,
and reverse engineer how you'd make it move while staying within the mechanical constraints. Most cg artist think of rigging as just for character animation, but really skinning is just one small aspect of rigging for animation. Although you'll find plenty of the same rigging techniques used in both character and car rigs...etc. Also I rig up packaging machines daily and am still finding new unique rigging scenarios. ( after 4+ years of just rigging for straight mechanical configurations, no characters...well one. ) Sorry am not really posting any links for tuts, I was trained in Maya as well in school, and then once started C4D mainly just build rigs on the mechanical constraints I'm working within. What I'm getting at I guess is in terms of learning something new, nothing beats the repetition of actually trying to solve specific rigging solutions. Read the docs, break/blow up a bunch of rigs, and then you start to see the need for a lot of the rigging best practices, like zeroing everything, locking axis from movement, when to use multiple levels nested nulls for individual local axis moves, etc... in order to reset a rig you've accidentally blown up, and keep it very stable. I wouldn't start with say a 6-axis robot, but learning all the tricks on a lower level will make it easier to see the challenges of a particular rig, and the best way to approach the build. Oh and save iterations of your rig file! Once you become a rigging purest, having your joints shift small fractions of degrees, and never fully zeroing out again will drive you mad! Those sort of things creep into a rig when you blow them up to many times, and keep trying to reset it back to zeros. If you get part of a good rig built, and it's stable, save a iteration of the file. Then when you continue on and quickly mess something up, you have a nice clean fallback file to start from again. Well, sorry for the rambling, just some things to think about!

Character Rigs = Mechanical Animals ( Any Marilyn Manson fans about? haha )

Rigger's defiantly have to think a little more mathematically then the average artist. Lets see, why do I want to align my joint chain locally? Do I need to? Whats the benefit? ( One benefit is knowing the relative angle offsets easily from joint to joint of a properly aligned joint chain. Why's that important? Well depends on how technical your getting... if is for mechanical rigging, you want to be quite technical. If it's for a character rig you can be a little looser, but still need to insure your rigs stable. All the good technique for laying out FK applies to laying out for IK as well. )

And lastly, whats the scope of rigging in C4D? I consider attaching objects to a spline ( thats deformed with a posemorph tag ) using the ATS tag... rigging.

All my favorites ~ Cinema 4D R13, After Effects, Photoshop CS5, Lightroom, Photomatic

Last edited by mayajunky : 02 February 2013 at 10:59 PM.
  02 February 2013
Originally Posted by mayajunky: save iterations of your rig file!

Probably the most important advice for rigging in Cinema!
Sad to say, but the undo queue in Cinema often doesn't work correctly and this can cause lots of issues with rigging. A simple example - say you have object A and object B, you add an xpresso tag and connect the position of A to the position of B. Object B jumps to the position of object A as you'd expect. Then though if you decide you want to undo that, you Ctrl+Z and the connection between the objects is broken again. But Object B does not return to it's original position!
There are other examples of things like this where you can very easily find yourself in an 'undoable' position, sometimes it's a minor irritant, other times it can be much worse.

The moral of the story is put the Save Incremental icon in your layout while you are rigging, and use it often.

  02 February 2013
As you are talking about undo:
Do you have a suggestion how to transfer keyframes from an older version (identical rig)?
I just accidently deleted the keyframes from one pose in my animation and i was not able to copy it back from an older animation version. Undo was not possible as i already refined other parts of the animation. So i had to do the complete pose again...
  02 February 2013
Hey guys, after a few days away I've come back to lots more advice and suggestions.
Just wanted to say a quick thanks.

  02 February 2013
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