What do you look for in a quadruped rig?

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  09 September 2002
What do you look for in a quadruped rig?

Hi all,

I'm rigging (and animating) a quadruped for the first time. While I wouldn't mind seeing any online tutorials on it, I am primarily interested in what you folks would want for the rig to be able to do. ie. head moves independent of hips, hips independent of shoulders, fk/ik switch on all legs... stuff like that. Since this is the first time I've tried to set one up, I was hoping to get advice around any inherent pitfalls, please. I am assuming the rig is more complex than two bipeds in a horse suit.

I don't have problems creating expressions, generating set driven keys, creating morphs, so I'm just wondering what features you like to have available to the animator.

Thanks very much for your insights.

  09 September 2002
I've only ever rigged one quadruped, a horse, and the only problems I had with that were related to the way a horse's skeleton works. Humans walk with their feet flat on the ground from heel to toe , whereas horses walk on what are effectively the tips of their fingernails. Those two extra articulated joints/bones between the spine and the ground make IK rigging a leg much more complex than on a biped. Once you have sussed how to build one leg though it realy is as easy as making two bipeds in a horse suit Only other thing you have to take care of is giving the spine enough articulation.
  09 September 2002
quadruped info

alias/wavefront just put out a new dvd about rigging quads. store.aliaswavefront.com
  09 September 2002

The most IMPORTANT thing to have with a quadraped rig is to keep the chest and pelvis seperate. Its basically like two people joined together by a bendable bridge. Only that the person in front is half a step ahead of the person behind. Also my pivots for the chest are slightly lower to give curve in the spine, during compression.


head - seperate

Chest- seperate



control to move rotate pelvis, chest, head in one at pelvis pivot

control to move rotate chest, head in one at chest pivot

neck and spine automated

tail FK

Control for leg twist independent of foot

Foot rotates 180 degrees independent of leg

also when i rig legs i put them in there compressed state, then apply HI ik handle. It give them maximum extention/compression.Also build the bones side to the body, not on any plane/offset grids or your'll get flipping.

Ill post an anim later of some rigs in action!

Disclaimer: My opinions are not those of my employer.

  09 September 2002
Great list of features to look for!


  01 January 2006
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