Fastest, easiest way for character animation noob to rig baloon animal (tail, but no hands, feet, knees, elbows)


I rigged the character a while ago, but I generally remember a quick learning curve regarding a couple things that kept the auto rig from happening. Once it did, it just worked beautifully. Very easy to work with, though my character was only dancing in place, so not sure how difficult it is to walk cycle or otherwise stick feet to ground or other objects.

That being said, my only previous experience was experimenting with AE 2d auto-rigs. I actually moved to C4d for the character because it became rapidly apparent that character movement is just much easier to deal with in 3d even if it’s being rendered flat. I may give joystics and sliders a go at some point just out of curiosity for the unique approach, but overall, I don’t see myself trying to do 2d character animation again unless it’s just goofy non rigged bends and such. Too much work for too many limitations. Much more liberating in 3d.

Good experience overall, but not much to compare it to. I was able to get the dance moves in relatively easily with no prior 3d rigging experience.


What has kept me from pursuing character animation is that it seems like such a vast amount of work…and if any part of it isn’t perfect…it looks tacky, cheesy…or even downright laughable.

And for anything human…there is that uncanny valley to deal with. That and audience expectations are so high with all the amazing Pixar type stuff people are accustomed to watching.

Any character work I do in the future will likely be with more abstract and simplified characters.


I’m a big believer in general in leaning into being quirky. There’s a reason major studios have entire operations in India with hundreds of people credited for every minute detail. If you don’t have that budget, there’s really no point in trying to compete on that field.

There are, however, benefits to being independent. It shortens the distance from concept to consumption, and grants absolute creative control. Those are the two keys. Creators either battle them or embrace them. Trying to compete in the same game with major production teams fails to correctly assess the time / productivity matrix.


Agreed. Quirky, whimsical, playful …or abstract. For budget character animation… Too earnest or too ambitious and it will almost certainly fail.


Now if I could only manage to take my own advice once in a while…


One word: Shareable.

People share things for all kinds of reasons, but there is sort of a hierarchy.

Near the top of the list are things that cause an emotional reaction:

Funny, shocking, heartwarming, etc

Near the bottom are technical details:

Animation style, conceptual aspects, etc.

Memes are pretty much the platonic ideal for shareability. They contain only and exactly the thing that causes the reaction, and people share it 5 seconds after encountering it for the first time.

May sound odd, but I think modern artists of all kinds should be ENCOURAGED by that… because the elements that make that work are simple to create, and don’t require a massive team or high tech gear. Not to say everyone needs to boil what they do down to memes, but in many cases going a bit more toward that simplified ideal of the thing you’re trying to convey is a benefit… and probably the only way to actually get it done if you’re the one spinning all the plates.

Well, that and not wasting time in internet forums.


Christoph Niemann


Hadn’t heard of him, but sure… that works. Still a bit abstract for max sharing potential. Grounding works in some sort of pop culture phenomenon is generally helpful. Saw a great vid the other day (can’t remember where) about how the Marvel character universe is essentially the perfect vehicle for selling anything in that it’s constantly striking the right balance between the new, the familiar, fan service, pop culture references, etc. Over the top schmaltzy and formulaic by some standards, but lessons to be learned none the less.

I was just reminded the other day of The Far Side cartoons. Very creative, poorly drawn, and super easy and fast to produce. Sold countless copies, and no one cared about the drawings being basic. Same goes for anything, really. People either like or dislike South Park, but if you ask them why, the answer almost never has to do with the fact that it’s designed to be the path of least resistance from an animation perspective.

Depends on the point you’re trying to get across. My old drumming instructor told me Ringo was his favorite drummer specifically because you were never left with the impression that you’d just heard a great drum exhibition, but rather that you’d just heard a great song. I didn’t bother mentioning that it’s rumored he was actually so bad that he was replaced on some tracks, but the point remains.

Similarly, if you have some amazing idea the world just MUST see… then the goal of all the technical details should be just to get out of the way so they convey that point without distraction.

So yeah. a few hops and tail wags on this one, and I’m good. Trying me best to wrap up.


Hope we all get to see your final creation.