My Updated Biped Spine Rig

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  11 November 2013
My Updated Biped Spine Rig


I'm currently in the very early stages of creating my first auto rig script and I'm doing some investigations into spine rigs for computer games. I've observed the functionality of both Biped and CAT spines rigs and I prefer Biped's since you can rotate individual Bones or choose to have the rotation inherited by the entire chain with a nice falloff.

I found getting the rotations to be inherited properly by the Bones and the animation controls challenging, but I think I've come up with a rig which is stable in Gimbal mode and it seems to be acceptable in Local mode, but I'd recommend using Gimbal rotations.

The two larger Helper objects at the top and bottom can be used to distribute rotations along the spine from the top and bottom, respectively, whereas the smaller Helpers can be used to rotate and twist the Bones individually.

It's all based on Wire Parameters, so there's no flipping at 90 or 180 degrees. If anyone's interested in how I made it then I might consider making a small video tutorial (before I forget how I did it!).

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  11 November 2013
I wanted to check these out but I'm still using 2011 and the files wouldn't open. If your file's not using anything that's specific to your Max version it's nice to upload a file with the oldest compatible version number so suckers like me stuck in time can check stuff out, too.
  11 November 2013
Hi Andy,

I went one better, I created a MAXScript UI for creating your own Biped spines.

It's pretty simple you just need to create two objects (which allow the script to define the start and end positions of the spine) and specify how many bone you want in your spine - the minimum is 2 and the maximum can theoretically be anything but I capped it at 20.

Obviously this is just a quick test so I didn't include the ability to define the direction of the Z-axis, the script automatically sets it to [0,1,0].

Also, the Bones and rig are created at the same time, if you like the setup I could change it so that the Bones are created in one step and then the rig in another which would allow you to rotate the Bones into a nice shape before the rig is created, rather than having the in a straight line.

I would be interested to get your opinion Andy from an animators point of view, if you compare it to Biped I think I've included similar functionality to Bipeds four "Bend Links" modes but without any flipping.

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  11 November 2013
Cool! I'll check it out today and get back to you. Thanks, man

Ok, played around with it a bit and from what I can tell it works almost if not exactly like biped's spine, which is pretty nice. When I'd animate with biped the one thing I always found myself wanting where the spine was concerned, especially for acrobatic stuff, was a way to reposition the butt without having to counter-animate the spine back in to place, which is why I eventually switched to Brad Noble's rig. Also, squash and stretch which I eventually figured out how to do. But anyway your spine setup seems pretty simple and easy to work with so far. Good work.

One of the other things I miss about biped while I'm at it is the arm. I loved that you could grab the hand and pull it like IK even in FK mode. And the way you could pose the elbow by twisting the forearm, was great too. Don't miss animating with it though.

Last edited by Pacermike : 11 November 2013 at 08:52 AM.
  11 November 2013
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