Rig Features

Scene: Naming and Organization

Hierarchy:

The objects are grouped under empties located at the center of the world (eg: char_grp)

_images/outliner.jpg

There are two armatures in the scene:

The armature named rig is the one to be used by the animator.

The armature named rig_add which is hidden by default is the additive rig. It is not meant to be edited, you can fully ignored it, but it’s good to know some secondary bones rely on it so you must not delete it.

Scene Layers:

  • Layer 0: Rig
  • Layer 19 (Last bottom right): Custom bone shapes

Armature Layers:

  • Layer 0: Main controllers
  • Layer 1: Secondary controllers
  • Layer 16: Other picker bones
  • Layer 17: Reference bones
  • Layer 31: Deforming bones
  • Others: For internal use only
_images/armature_layers.png

Rig Overview

User Interface - Controllers

  • Selecting the controllers bones:
    You can either select them in the 3d view or use the bone picker interface. Be aware a few bones are not easily selectable in the 3d view. The rig was first designed to be used with the picker.
  • To hide controllers on the character in solid view, you can enable the «Only render » function in the properties panel (N key), or select all the controllers and go to the “Pose” menu > Bone settings > Draw wire.
  • Picker Panel :You can easily select a group of controllers (arms, legs, secondary…) by making a rectangle selection (B key), show/hide layers… Note the picker layout can be customized, by default all buttons are simply a grid layout but you can customize to make it look like the one below:
_images/picker_image2.jpg

Picker Buttons

Layers: Just click these buttons in the picker panel to show/hide a layer for display simplication.

  • Main: the main controllers for posing the character. You can’t do much shape tweak with them but they’ll give you a good basis to start.
  • Secondary: for fine shape tuning. To scale, move, rotate a specific body part, tweak a shape…

Naming

  • The bones named with “c_” prefix means they are “controller”: the bones are selectable, they’re meant to be animated.
  • “.l” and “.r” stands for the left or right side of the character (+X, -X). Right controllers are blue, left are red.
  • .x” suffix means they belong to the center of the character, in green.
  • Shapes objects for bone display have the prefix “cs_” (custom shapes).

Rig Usage

Scaling the character

Scale the rig (armature) object to apply a global scale. The characters meshes objects must be parented to the armature.

  • I don’t recommend to unlock and tweak the scale values of the “c_pos” and “c_traj” controllers: due to a limitation of the preserve volume feature of the armature modifier it leads to bad deformation on the elbow, knees and other parts when they rotate. Maybe the Blender developpers will fix it but for now do it at your own risks ;)
  • The main controllers are fully scalable except a few ones. Don’t unlock the transforms values, it would lead to strange behaviors. Use the secondary controllers instead (second layer) to scale a specific part.

Arms and Legs

_images/properties2.jpg

Select an arm or leg controller (c_hand_ik.l for example).

Press N key to display the buttons and properties panel on the right side of the 3d view.


Properties:

  • Stretch Length: To specify the length of the chain
  • Auto Stretch: To enable/disable auto-stretch (IK chain only). 1.0=enable, 0.0=disable
  • Fix Roll: To fix the ankle roll/twist effect when the foot is highly rotated. Useful for quadruped rigs.
  • IK-FK Switch To manually switch the kinematic type, from 0.0 (IK) to 1.0 (FK).

Buttons:

  • Snap FK > IK: to snap the FK chain on the IK chain. The IK-FK switch will be set to FK (1.0) accordingly.
  • Snap IK > FK: to snap the IK chain on the FK chain. The IK-FK switch will be set to IK (0.0) accordingly.
  • Snap Pole Parent: to switch and snap the IK pole parent space (local/global, e.g. foot parent space for the leg, or global c_traj parent space). See the pole constraints to change the parent bone.

IK feet features only:

Select the controller c_foot_roll_cursor to access these foot motion: * Bank left-right: translate Z axis * Foot rotation from heel/end toes: translate X axis * Foot rotation from the toes: Select the controller c_foot_01 to rotate the heel from the toes pivot.

_images/foot_controls.gif

In IK mode, the knee/elbow can be oriented using the pole controller, or using the direct rotation controller (pressing RR (two times R Key) is recommended to rotate it easily)

_images/ik_ctrl.jpg

Elbows and Knees Pinning

Select the pinning bone and set the pinning property to 1.0 for a full pinning.

_images/pining.jpg _images/pinned.jpg

Typical example of a character with pinned elbow on the table to virtually stick them.


Lips

By selecting the jaw controller, use the Lips Retain value with additional stretch and squash to keep the lips sealed when opening the jaw.

_images/lips_retain_value.jpg _images/lips_retain.gif

Eyes and Targets

There are two ways for animating the eyes. If you want to use the targets (IK, translation), select the controllers in front of the arrow, otherwise use the circle under the eyebrows, inside of the big one (FK, rotation). The smallest one controls the eye reflection:

_images/eye_target.jpg _images/eye_target_3dview.jpg

When selecting one of these controllers, this property will be displayed in the property panel to let you choose wich option you want to use:

_images/eye_target_slider.jpg

Auto-Eyelids

The amount of automatic eyelid rotation, based on the eyes rotations, can be found when clicking on the eyes or eyelids controllers

_images/auto_eyelids.gif

Fingers

  • To bend all fingers at once, select the hand controller, and tweak the Fingers Grasp property in the Rig Main Properties tab:
_images/fingers_grasp.jpg
  • Moreover, you can rotate the three finger phalanges at once by selecting the base finger bone of any finger and use this parameter:
_images/finger_base.jpg _images/bend_all.jpg
  • If a fist controller has been added on the hand, it will nicely curl the fingers into a pre-defined fist pose when scaling it. It is more accurate than Grasp Fingers property:
_images/auto_fist.gif
  • If the rig is setup with the Rot from Scale parameter, scaling the first phalange will rotate the other phalanges.
_images/new_finger_rot.gif

Rotating the base finger of the pinky will spread out the other fingers as well:

_images/auto_base_fingers.gif

Secondary controllers

Feel free to make an extensive use of the secondary controllers for fine pose sculpting. For example, here is an extreme leg deformation (default skinning weights), before and after tweaking:

_images/secondary_tweaks.jpg

Additionnaly, you can create corrective shape keys. Choose the workflow you prefer!


Mirror the Pose

Select the controllers you want to mirror then click these buttons:

_images/mirror.jpg

UI Camera for Multiple Characters

In case of multiple characters in the scene, to update the picker window view with the selcted characters, click Set UI Cam in the Rig Main Properties tab.

_images/set_ui_cam_prop.jpg

Known Limitation, Workarounds and Hints

IK-FK

The IK-FK text displayed in the UI panel may not update when snapping IK-FK, but don’t worry this is simply a display bug, it does switch. Just select a bone in the picker view to update.

If there are weird interpolations when switching ik-fk, check the switch property curve (switch controller). The keys must be set in constant mode.


Scaling

As written above scaling the “c_pos” or “c_traj” controllers may lead to bad deformations at corner, like elbow, knees… This is a limitation of the current “preserve volume” feature of the armature modifier. So scale the rig object instead.

_images/preserve_volume_modifier.jpg