Rig Features

Naming and Organization

Hierarchy and Collections

Rig objects are part of the mother collection named character1 (default name, can be renamed, see Set Character Name ).

The rig and UI objects are part of the child collection character1_rig. The custom shapes used for the controller bones shapes are part of the child collection character1_cs. This collection is hidden by default.

Rig objects are also parented to the char_grp empty, as a master/root object of the hierarchy.

_images/outliner_28.jpg

When using the Additive mode for the secondary controllers, a second armature stands besides the main one, named”rig_add”:

  • 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, when using Additive secondary controllers.

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_28.jpg

Rig Overview

User Interface - Controllers

  • Controller bones can be selected directly in the 3d view or by using the bone picker interface.

  • To hide controllers in the viewport, disable the “overlays”:

_images/disable_overlays.jpg

  • 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 spread on a grid template, but their position can be changed (see Picker Panel)

_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

  • Bones named with c_ prefix (e.g. “c_root_master.x”) are “controller”: they are selectable, they’re meant to be animated. They may deform or not deform meshes.

  • Bones named with _ref suffix (e.g. “root_ref.x”) are “reference”: they’re just guides used to align the final rig on. They’re not part of the rig system itself but they’re part of the armature, in a hidden layer, revealed when clicking “Edit Reference Bones”. They don’t deform meshes.

  • Bones named without prefix are internal bones necessary for the rig mechanic. They may deform or not deform meshes.

  • .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.

  • Scaling directly the “c_pos” and “c_traj” controllers is safe from a rigging standpoint, but be careful when using the “Preserve Volume” option of the armature modifier: due to its limitation, it may lead to bad deformation on the elbow, knees and other parts where bones rotate.

  • 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_28.jpg

To display the arms and legs properties, select an arm or leg controller (c_hand_ik.l for example). Press N key to display the properties panel on the right side of the 3d view and go to the Tool tab > Rig Main Properties

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).

In IK mode, the feet stick to their position when moving the main pelvis controller (c_root_master). The legs rotation is controled by the foot position in a dynamic way.

_images/ik_legs.gif

In FK mode, each bone can be rotated individually, the legs bones inherit the main pelvis controller position and rotation.

_images/fk_legs.gif

Buttons:

  • Snap IK-FK: to switch and snap the mode. If it’s currently set to IK it will set to FK, and vice versa.

By clicking the gear icon, you can access the advanced snap 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.

  • Bake FK > IK: to snap the FK chain on the IK chain for a specified frame range, and bake it to keyframes. Useful when converting an FK animation to IK.

  • Bake IK > FK: to snap the IK chain on the FK chain for a specified frame range, and bake it to keyframes. Useful when converting an IK animation to FK.

_images/bake_ik_fk.jpg

  • Snap Pole Parent (IK only): to switch the Pole Parent setting to 1 or 0 and snap the IK pole automatically (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.

  • Snap Pinning: to switch the Pinning setting to 1 or 0 and snap the related bones (elbow or knee) automatically.


Legs

Legs Main Controllers

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_28.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_28.jpg

Legs 3 Bones

When the leg is setup with 3 bones (3 Bones Leg), the IK constraint may affect 2 or 3 bones, using the 3 Bones IK slider:

_images/3_bones_ik.jpg

_images/3_bones_ik_demo.gif

Elbows and Knees Pinning

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

_images/pining_28.jpg _images/pinned.jpg

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


Neck

If neck twist bones are enabled, the neck twist amount can be adjusted with Neck Global Twist and Neck Twist

_images/neck_twist.gif

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_28.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_28.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

Fingers Bend

  • 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_28.jpg

It rotates 2 or 3 phalanges depending on the rigging setup (see Rotate Fingers from Scale ).

Note

This only rotates fingers linearly on the X axis though, it may not be accurate enough to make a decent fist pose. Use the Hand Fist feature to make a real fist pose.

  • 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_28.jpg

Fingers Fist

  • If a fist controller (Hand Fist) 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 the Grasp Fingers property:

_images/auto_fist.gif

Fingers Rot from Scale

  • 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

Fingers Auto-Spread

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

_images/auto_base_fingers.gif

Fingers IK-FK

If IK-FK is enabled for fingers, fingers can be manipulated with these controllers and settings:

_images/fingers_ik.gif

_images/fingers_tools_panel.jpg

  • Snap IK-FK: Switch the IK-FK property and snap finger bones automatically to preserve their current pose

  • IK-FK: The IK-FK switch property value, from 0.0 (full IK) to 1.0 (full FK)

  • Snap All to IK/FK: Snaps IK-FK for all fingers at once

  • Snap Root-Tip: Switch the IK Root-Tip property and snap fingers bones automatically to preserve their current pose (as far as possible)

  • IK Root-Tip: If set to 0, the IK target located at the root of the third phalange will be used. If set to 1, the IK target located at the tip of the third phalange will be used.

  • Snap All to Root/Tip: Snap Root-Tip for all fingers at once.

_images/fingers_ik_root_tip.gif

  • Toggle All IK Parents: Enable or disable the IK target Child Of constraint, to free them or lock them to the hand, while preserving their current pose.


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!


Spline IK

Spline IK limbs have various options to enable or disable stretch (Y Scale), volume preservation and variation.

_images/spline_ik_props.jpg

Mirror the Pose

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

_images/mirror_28.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 Picker Cam in the Rig Main Properties tab.

_images/set_ui_cam_prop_28.jpg