Lifting a box, how to approach?


Hey all

I’m trying to do a box lift animation with one character, and as of now I’m going with IK only…but its working out horribly.

Does anyone know of any simple solutions to doing something like this? The thing is that the hands have to move to different parts of the box a couple of times each, and the box must lean on a couple of different edges also.

I would appreciate any help!



First, I would storyboard it out, so you know exactly what you need to do.

But it sounds like you’ll need to rig up a pretty complex solution for this… which will include a few groups (for the pivot points of the box) and point/orient constraints. Somethin ya might want to think about, is (since you’re using IK) tryin constraining the hands to the box…well… they won’t be constrained to the box itself, but to objects that will be within the box’s hierarchy. You can then move these objects around the box and the wrists will stay constrained appropriately if you move/tilt the box.

I hope I’m not just confusing you… but I really can’t say much more without details. I once had to make a character build an object in his hands, while swapping the objects between hands. There’s tons of different ways to do it, but all of them will require a ton of planning.

Hmm… now that I think about it… Maya 5 has those new parent constraints that will probably help out a TON. So you might be able to get away with just using multiple groups and parent constraints. :shrug:

There’s a reason you don’t see much character interaction in demo reels. :wink: Good luck.

  • Jeremy


If you just need the motion for a person lifting a box, let me know and we can send it to you next time we suit up.

How big is the box? Are they lifting it onto something?

We can take a look at doing it in a few days.



As far as picking up the box goes, you could use the good old switching mesh method, or whatever it’s called. Bascially, make two version of your box, one on the ground and a seperate one that is parented to you model and moves with it. Like parent the box to an hand, or maybe a bone on the spline or waist. Just make sure the box looks like its moveing realisticly with your model. You can key the hide/ show attribute(forgot what its actually called_ on the box, so…
Simply hide the box that is parented to the model and then when the guy leans over to pick up the box, hide the normal box and unhide the parented one. Make sure the two are in roughly the same position and do the swap over one frame. Tada, you have a box that moves with the character, his hands can wonder all over the place cause its parented to his waist or such and if done right, no one will ever know you switched meshes. Hope this helps. As far as the leaning on corners and such… ugh. As stated you’ll have to figure out exactly how its going to move via storyboard then set up the motion from there. Hope this all made sense and good luck.


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