Setup Tutorial


Hi all,

I’ve posted the updated character setup tutorial (finally). I havent proof read it or anything yet . . hope nothings missing.

Just came across Mike’s tutorial in another thread and I’d have to say it’s much more detailed . . . cudos

but hey . . . back to work.



Hahaha wow. We use almost exactly the same setup. Mine is dumbed down a little so that there are only 2 control nulls per foot per key. Your setup will require a lot more keys per pose. But then again, having the toetip pivot and the master for the foot in the center is a bit more flexible animation wise… I find I’ve never needed the toetip pivot, do you use it much?

How do you do knee ‘up vector’ constraints? You never covered that… Do you just key the bank of the thigh? Or do you set up a mid-chain goal like i did?



i used your female hand to teach myself about hands in general great work from you guys thanks todd


I found both tutes helpful. While I have my own way it’s always interesting to see how other Lightwavers do their rigging.

Big thanks to both of you for sharing.


Chewey, you should do a quick write up so we can see your method.


After checking out these 2 rigging tutes, I’d be the first to admit my way of rigging (within LW) is a bit on the primitive side in some respects. I have a old habit of going bruce force for most of my keying/animating and as long as my feet don’t slip I just carry on. I suspect that after trying out some of the aspects of the null setups shown in the 2 tutes I’ll be changing my rigging approach in LW as the controls appear attractive.

I’d like to add some type of LW tute if I can find the time and a dependable location to post it.


The thing with the feet in my setup is pretty much just a system to give the animator a pivot off of the ball and off of the heel. I see that as a minimum for basic walking type stuff. IF you only have a goal at the ankle you have to keep keying it up and down on y as you roll the foot.



in that setup, most of the foot null controls have been added to my rigs by request of animators. they do actually come in handy in some instances. they’re especially helpful in doing really cartoony animation where the charatcers will do alot of goofy things.

as for keys per pose, the way i animate i always create keys for all items (in the setup that is) on all channels for each key pose. i then do the same for the in-betweens . . . makes it easier to adjust your timings etc. i really only break out keys for seperate items at the cleanup stage. its very 2d in theory . . like im “drawing” each frame.

as for the knee . . i usually find that keying the heading channel of the left/right hip bones (as well as banking the thigh or calf) good enough to get the poses i need. i destroy the rig alot of times in the process! (breaking joints etc).

i really dislike IK on many levels. i really prefer to manipulate every bone right down to the pinky to capture the pose (it’s fun:).
IK limits your ability to but the bones wherever you want them but is sometimes a necessity (ie: always with legs and sometimes with the arm). on the other hand i know alot of animators who love all that crazy control stuff. how do you guys work? (this should probably be a new thread . . but hey)


I prefer less IK and more FK but then I’m not what you’d call an seasoned animator with a demanding schedule to meet. Even with LW’s improved IK I’m still inclined to avoid using it for anthing other than on legs. If I’m using Maya I tend to use IK a bit more and throw in a couple of expressions for hip centering and foot pivot translating if the animation lets me get away with it.

I do have to add that LW’s improved graph editing tools have made it a lot easier to get in and tweak and wrangle curves.



nice tutorials from both of you. This is definetly a area of confusion for us less seasoned folks… I have many models built, but i have had horrible luck in rigging them. Now i know why! i missed a few steps…

Thanks alot guys, newtek should add tutorials like this to the manual.


i want the chick model shes HOT :wink: lol


Yeah, lets see the model.


you’ll see more of her on the cover of the next issue of 3D Artist actually :slight_smile:



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