New rig

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  04 April 2003
New rig

I have constructe a rig for my character for my animation for class but it has some obvious problems(as I am a noob to rigging and learned all this off of tutorials). I think I know how to fix some of them but heres my question: Would anyone be willing to take a look at my rig and give some advice on what is perhaps a noob mistake or what could be done better? You dont have to do any actual work, just give advice on what you see, what you might do better, etc. I think that would help me way more than asking question after question and trying to attatch crappy pics.



If I get positive results I will post the mb file.
  04 April 2003
Heck yeah. I've posted MBs before on here and gotten great feedback on my rigging flaws.

The hardest part (after you learn the basics) is coming up with the best way to gain the most control of your rig with the fewest controls. One more thing to keep in mind before your turn your rig in is, make sure your animator can't break it, because they will.
  04 April 2003
man it just gets worse and worse. now im running into all sorts of problems. Im just gonna make it as unbreakable as i can and post it here cause I am at my wits end. Thx for the interest.

My Character and Rig

EDIT-added the link to the rig and character. 1.5 meg mb file. Please remember I am a noob so all advice is appreciated, but elaborate so that I can understand and follow along.

Last edited by YankyBJeans : 04 April 2003 at 04:01 AM.
  04 April 2003
I took a quick look at your rig.

- Any reason the model isn't at the origin? Usually character nodes are also located at the origin. This helps if you attach him to a motion path and stuff.

- not too big, but for future use... Maya naming convention is "thisIsHowThingsAreNamed". The first letter is little. After that, in place of spaces use a capital letter at the beginning of the word. It'll add spaces when it shows in the channel box. This'll help ya when you write scripts and stuff, so you know how everything is named.

- you prolly wanna at least drop the IKs and cluster under the character node

- Make sure you draw the joints (that will have IK) at a small angle in the direction you want it to bend (im referring to your arms). Otherwise it'll sometimes bend and twist funny.

- Freeze transforms on your Control Objects. It'll help ya find bind pose.

- you removed attributes from the channel box, but you didn't lock them. I could change them by selecting the joint and using the scale tool (your animator will try that =P).

- Move the pivot of your control boxes to the joints they control.

- you could orient constrain the hand box using this method...
  1. Put a single joint (I tried an empty group, but I believe I had a problem somewhere) underneath Lhandcurve.
  2. Orient Lwrist to the group (so Lwrist controls the group).
  3. Now delete the constraint and orient constrain the group to the Lhand (so the group now controls the hand).
  4. hide the joint (there's no reason not to)

this method keeps the hand from popping when you orient constrain.

I accidentally lost what I wrote 1/2 way through and I know I'm forgetting something... If you want me to post one of my rigs to get some ideas, just ask. My friends seem to really like animating with it.

You got a great start. Is there anything else you want to add to the rig?

  04 April 2003
Phew! theres lots to digest there and I think i understand maybe 50% of it. lol. noob to the bone dude. here the probs i had:

-when i did the spline ik for the spine i got some crazy shoulder twist on completion. i fixed it by twisting it back but i didnt like that it happened and dont know why it did that instead of just making a spline like in the tut and and not moving the rig.

-the tut had me parent the hand pole vectors to the shoulder but that was a whole mess of trouble. it didnt really work well(i cant recall why at the moment) and led to more probs. i parented it to the hand just so it stays somewhat near everything but im not sure what is better to do with it.

-weighting.....ooooooooh boy. what a mess. heh

-i cant seem to go to bind pose using the bind pose option under the skin menu. gives me some errors about removing ik, constraints, and whatnot. i looked into making a character pose but have no idea how and the help didnt

-my thumb does strange things when rotating using the fist attribute on the hand control curves. id like to fix it but not mess with the geometry if possible. maybe fix its bone so it looks ok?

can you go into some more detail about the orient constraint for the hand? why would i want to do it? does it have benefits?

  04 April 2003
oh yea, to address the questions you posed to me:

-the original model was at origin but i modeled her with her legs spread (like if you were doing jumping jacks) and i was having probs with my ik and inverse foot rig so i duplicated it and fixed the legs so they were straight and flat at the bottoms.

-my naming convention....heh lesson learned for the future

-the arms had a slight bend initially but after all the spine movement, hand movement and whatnot due to all the boning they mustve gotten messed up.

id love to see one of your rigs for future use. i may redo her skeleton in the future following yours if its really good. for now though i gotta get her ready to animate so i just want to fix what i have so its workable. i have to turn in a playblast for the final animation(min of one minute) on monday and its gettin down to the wire.

thanks for all the help. it really helps me learn.

  04 April 2003
The reason you'd need to use the method above for the orient constraint is because your wrist will pop when you try to do a normal one. Try it the normal way first just to see. Then think about what you are doing when you use my method. It's just for keeping the either the wrist or ctrl object from popping when you constrain them.

If ya need more detailed instrucions, I'll write 'em. Now to address your other problems....
  04 April 2003
Here's[239k] the last rig I made. I spent a lot of time researching how to make it easiest to control.
I'm also willing to take crits.

Now, more on your rig-
  • First off, to get to bind pose you need to disable the IKs. To do this, under the Skeleton drop down menu, uncheck the Enable IK Solvers. Now try going to bind pose, it should work. Recheck it when your done with bind pose.
  • If the bones are moving when you add IKs, thats because they pop to meet the pole vectors. Some people wait to attach the pole vectors until after they bind. I just snap the pole vector to the elbow, now it wont pop when you add the pole vector.
  • Do you rotate your joints when your moving them around? because you had some joints (in the back) that were oddly rotated. Just translate them until you bind. You can even press INS and move a joint in the middle without messsing with the ones below it in the hierarchy.
  • Weighting always sucks. But the better you get at rigging, the less youll have to weight. Also, don't rule out doing a rigid bind all the time. It seems like noone uses it, but it's easier to get better deformation is a lot of cases.
  • Here's a suggestion. You may want to add a rotation limit to your knees and elbows. They truely never go straight. And without they pop when they go straight. Some people don't like that because it will "limit" your control over the rig, but I don't see it as loosing anything important.
  04 April 2003
Heres a problem that probably led to the bones in the back being rotated. I used a spline ik to make the back ik so that i could use a limit on each cv so that the spine would then bend none at the root and most at the top. However when i did the ik, the shoulder joints(collarbones) rotated from being in the proper places in the shoulders to 90 degrees from that. so i ended up with the right shoulder coming out of the front of the character and the left shoulder coming out the rear. remove my splineik and try it yourself and youll see. I have no idea what the problem is but I fixed it by just rotating the ik's twist attribute. so that is an area that is messed up right now.

thanks for the bind pose info. now i know how to fix it finally.

when i added the pole vectors, the ik rigs on the arms did in fact move a little bit probably due to where my pole object was when i created them. can you elaborate a little bit on how i should parent the pole. I will try the pivot at the joint it pole constrains to see if it helps any.

how do i limit the rotation of a joint?

Thanks for all the info. I am learning tons here.

  04 April 2003
on a side note:

I love your rig! It seems to be very nicely setup with all the controls that a person would need. I have so many questions The head setup, the wrist rotation setup with the hand ik curve, etc. Id love to pick your brain sometime. Do you use aim or icq? Or something easier to chat in than this board?

  04 April 2003
notta clue on what happened with your spline IK. This is the procedure I usually do when making joints.
  1. Draw the wht whole chain in one orthographic view.
  2. Translate the joints in to proper place.
  3. Reorient the joints (so that Y runs along the joint) and X and Z go in the same direction.
  4. Then add spline or IKs.

About the pole vectors, snap the control object (your pole vector object) to the elbow. Now add the pole vectors. That way they cant move because it's pointing in the same dir.

Rotation limits are in the attribute editor for the object. There's a "Limit Information" drop down. Then under Rotate click the Rot Limit checkbox and type in the Min value.

I got AIM but about to head out. I'll PM you with my screen name later tonight.

Most of the techniques I have picked up has been from all the tutorials I've read and Jason Schleifer's Creature Rig in a Pipeline DVD. I can't say enough good stuff about that DVD. The funny thing is, to fully use his stuff you have to know what a lot the stuff in Maya does. So just play around with things (when you get some free time). And he really advocates MEL scripting (he includes 16 scripts w/ the DVD). and learning MEL has really helped me automate legnthy tasks. Enough of me drooling over his genius.... Oh and he'll happily answer any question ya got (he moderates some of the forums here), he seems like a really cool guy.

Expect to hear from me later today.

  04 April 2003

Anyone else want to take a look at my rig and offer advice?Doogie has given tons of great advice and Im sure theres tons more out there. 122 views should get me more than one person replying.

  04 April 2003
Hey Yank, this is just a guess as to what is going wrong with the splineIK because I can't download your rig but is your splineIK running past the area that your arm attaches to your spine? In other words is the end of the splineIK solver on a joint higher (closer to the head, lower in the hierarchy) than where your collar bone attaches to the the spine. If so than that is likely the problem, the splineIK solver is passing rotation data to to joint that is the parent of the arm chain, which messes everything up.

Some other good resources for character rigging information are, he has some great free video tutorials and an excellent rigging video for purchase that runs ~$50. Also has some good training DVD's but they run about $70 a pop. AliasWavefront's rigging book Learning Maya Rigging and Animation has some good info as well, you can read a review about it here:

Hope this helps, keep at it!

Doogie: I like your tip about limiting the rotation of the leg joints to keep them from popping when they go straight, never thought of that but I like it
Trout are freshwater fish and have underwater weapons.
  04 April 2003
yeah I'd love to see your rig, YankyBJeans. I'm all about looking at other peoples rigs to see what I can gain from them. And if I can give any advice, I will. Your link doesn't seem to work though.
Feel free to email me your rig if you want.

I know lots of rigging tricks, if I see ones that will be beneficial to your rig I'll let you know. If you want to see one of mine I'll send it to you if you're interested.
Rest In Peace... Dime....
  04 April 2003
Sorry guys, had to take my rig offline because I ran out of webspace. lol. I will try to get it back up as soon as possible. I am all about gettin more tips and techniques. Thanks.

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