Free messiah rig.


Hi everyone, how are you today?
Here’s a free messiah rig for you. It is currently in an Open Beta type of status so I really want you to break it, comment on it, and suggest various things you feel is missing and wrong. I’ve tried to incorporate the option of doing things in various ways so that it would correspond to our different animators preferences and different needs at different times.

Here’s a video showing the rig in action (Sorry for bad frame rate, my computer is poo, also sorry for not editing/speeding it up)

And here’s the actual rig:

You’ll need to put these scripts in your messiah/modules/scripts directory, they add some functionality to the armatures:

This will be a setup we will be using for some of our animations in the future, but you are free to use it commercially yourself. In case of commercial use I’d like you to just tell me or pop a line in this thread and credit me (Vegard Myklebust, useful slug).


Thanks for sharing this Ulven! Looking forward to playing with the rig when I get home :slight_smile:

Free rigs in messiah will probably encourage a lot more people to do little animation tests and post them.


I’ll try playing with it whith the demo. I have a copy of messiah comming soon. Santa knows I have been a very good boy.


Thanks for sharing, i love the rig , it is easy to control and lot to learn from!


The rig is really cool! I’m just having a hard time controlling the finger rotations…they seem to go wacky when I click on the armature. Thanks again for sharing this with us :slight_smile:


Good to see people are testing it out already! Excellent news. About the finger rotations: Hmm, Strange, seems to work fine here. The fingers should work by left mouse button dragging on them. Outer control pitches the outer two joints, inner control pitches the inner joint. Right mouse button on inner control to spread the fingers. Slightly different on the thumb. Are others having similar problems? Could anyone report, please? Make sure you uncheck Mouse Tracked Rotation Directions under Edit -> Key/Frame Editing -> Edit sphere.


And here’s a cheesy grin showing what it should do :slight_smile:


It should be noted that I do not consider myself a ‘rigger’ and have only been using messiah for a few months on and off so this is something that everyone can learn. So this is: “Rigging: by illustrators, for graphic designers.”, but I have tried to plan a bit carefully how we want to animate it (and we’ll be several different animators with different preferences on some upcoming projects).


I had the same strangeness with the fingers as well but turning off “Mouse Tracked Rotation Directions” seemed to fix the issue. Great job on the rig by the way!

My interface is VERY sluggish when I load the scene…even if I hit tab and turn off smoothing for the character the interface is pretty unresponsive. It feels like I’m in slow motion when I try to resize a panel, manipulate the edit sphere, use an armeture, etc.


Great Job Ulven, thank you very match to share it!


Cool! That worked :slight_smile: You did a great job on this rig…especially since you’re saying you don’t usually rig. 2 quick questions.

  1. Is there a way to have direct control over the rotation of the neck and head?
  2. How many bones are in the spine? I’m having a hard time getting a nice line of action arc on the back (it breaks up inbetween the upper and lower back)

Thanks again!


Leebre: That’s probably my fault, I need to do some cleanup on the rig cause there’s currently a good few things in there that I thought I might need and put in as a safety but then didn’t need but forgot to delete… Sorry 'bout that. It will be fixed in the next version.

timnhe: Cheers, glad you like it.

Bugpoo: Thanks.

  1. Hmm I did the head the way I like to animate it, the controls for that is ‘almost there’ but I forgot to implement them in the end. Should think more about other animators preferences. Will be in next version.

  2. Few. Would you prefer a midpoint, FK spine or both? I did it so I had as ‘few’ controls as I thought I needed but I appreciate that different situations require different control and different animators prefer different things. Say how you want it and it will be so.


Pretty cool rig. I also found it difficult to animate the head using a target. Eyeballs I can understand as long as they have an “on/off” switch but I much prefer direct controll over the head instead of controlling it with a target.

When I click on the knees I can see that it brings up the bank controlls for the hips but it would be nice if I could directly click/drag on that knee icon and have the knees rotate.

I always prefer to just see bones or controlling geometry instead of little blue dots. For me the blue dots don’t give me enough information about where the bone is currently and where I can rotate it.

I can’t wait to see you develop this further though. Amazing for someone fairly new to Messiah.:thumbsup:


Thanks for the comments everyone, they’re very helpful in getting this right! Keep 'em coming!

I’ll implement a way of doing the head both ways so you can still use the target type of thing (it is actually quite useful sometimes) and rotate the head freely.

The knees should be a doddle to fix as well, so no problem there.

The bones & control objects have their advantages, so does armatures sometimes. I think again I should probably go for both controls rather than ‘either, or’ so you can choose. I’m personally liking some of the armatures, but some things about it bugs me (i.e. not scalable and seem to take preference over channel selection)

Eyeballs, on/off switch… got it.

Can someone with a better computer make a slightly better screen captured vid of playing with the rig for me? Mine simply can’t deal with it so the framerate is super-low.


Leebre: What are your computer specs? I’m on a laptop with a decent video card and it’s very responsive when I work with the rig.


  1. Having direct control over the head/neck/knees (I think) gives the animator a better chance of hitting the poses he/she wants easier.

  2. 3 joints in the spine should do for this type of paunchy character. Right now I feel like I can pose the Cervical and Lumbar areas, but not the Thoracic

On the plus side of armatures. It sure opened up some screen realestate when animating on a laptop! You could also just use control objects for a more ‘direct’ visual manipulator


Bugpoo: Agreed. I shall make sure I implement a better spine in the next one. I think mid point with FK option from there will be best. Will try that in the next one and people can check it out.


Ok a little update here.
Replaced the file on our servers so no-one gets the wrong one.
here’s the link again so you don’t have to go to the first page:

  1. Fixed spine to have mid point. The Top of the spine is parented to the mid point so you can FK rotate and/or move it from the midpoint. I feel this is the best way, Tell me what you think.

  2. Fixed knees to be click’n’drag style controllers.

  3. Added Head point rotation from base of head. This armature is in the body group so you can hide the face group and thereby not have any problems with overlapping armatures on the editsphere.

Known issues still to be addressed:

  • Wegg-compatible rig showing control objects and bones as option to armatures.
  • Tidying up the rig so it runs quicker on Leebre’s computer.


Bugpoo, here are my system specs (it’s an HP Compaq nw8240):
XP Pro
Intel 2.26 GHz
2 GB of RAM
ATI Mobility FireGL V5000 Video Card w/128 MB of RAM


Leebre: Well that’s better than my computer at least, no worries, I’m pretty sure I know why it’s slowing down so I should be able to fix it soon enough.


It probably has less to do with your rig and more to do with my specific system. My video card might be causing a lot of the problems. Sometimes messiah is very sluggish and sometimes it is very responsive for me…kind-of hit or miss. :shrug: