Rigging

Apparently Dan had spoken to the group before I had came in for the lesson as I was told that we should add some sort of characters into our film to provide us something to animate for our folders. This was quite short notice considering these things should have been sorted by the second term, but these models and rigs didn’t have to be sophisticated due to the nature of our film. There is more emphasis on the environment rather than the characters. Gerome had decided we would just add a few small robots, and the main character at the end that we had previously talked about adding for some sort of narrative at the end. Deon added that there should also be a giant robot in the background but it will not be in focus as he’ll change the depth of field. With this new addition to our film, I knew I would most likely be the one doing quite a lot of the rigging, although Niko is quite capable of doing it also. Due to this I had to stop learning Nuke and start rigging straight away since this seemed like the most immediate task to do.

 

The only thing I’ve rigged before this previously were a spider and spider legs for our compositing project and although the robot’s legs are somewhat similar to a spider’s I’ve never really rigged the more human parts. I figured I would take the approach of making the skeleton and merely adding IK handles for the shoulder to elbow to wrist, and the same for the finger joints. However, this was most definitely not working out. The IK handles connected to the elbow joints kept bending backwards which wasn’t right.

  • Dominique Koomoshan

    • Hey, sorry to ask so suddenly, but do you know about rigging arms? I just need a basic rig for a robot. I haven’t rigged in like a year, and I’ve only had one day to rig these robots D: I’ve rigged everything but the arms aren’t working out. I’ve used IK handles though but I figured for something so basic it would be okay.

  • Arpit Achha

    6 May

    Arpit Achha

    • If you send me the file I will have a quick look to it!

  • Dominique Koomoshan

    6 May

    Dominique Koomoshan

    • Do you want it with my rig or without?

    • if with, don’t laugh at how basic it is lol

  • Arpit Achha

    6 May

    Arpit Achha

    • haha don’t worry send me with rig, cuz I don’t have time to do the full rig cuz I am leaving for FMX tomorrow so I am not sure if I will be able to do a long hours job today! But I shall have a look .

  • Dominique Koomoshan
  • 6 May

    Dominique Koomoshan

    • thank you!

  • Arpit Achha

    6 May

    Arpit Achha

    • whats the problem u having with this rig again ?

  • Dominique Koomoshan

    6 May

    Dominique Koomoshan

    • rigging the arms

    • well, it bends weirdly

    • So I’m gathering I’m going to have to rig the arms in a different way.

  • Arpit Achha

    6 May

    Arpit Achha

    • and right hand dont have fingers ?

  • Dominique Koomoshan

    6 May

    Dominique Koomoshan

    • no, suppose to be some sort of weapon

    • (I’ve only just seen these robot models yesterday)

  • Arpit Achha

    6 May

    Arpit Achha

    • I dont get it, cuz if its a robot then you dont unnecessary need ik for hands , plus the mesh of the robot is 1piece. so I guess your attempt was not wrong I would put an IK as well if its 1 mesh. Normally robot rig mesh needs to be separate like palm, elbow, shoulder screw nuts ect…

  • Arpit Achha

    6 May

    Arpit Achha

    • I am not very sure how do you want the movements to look like

  • Dominique Koomoshan

    • I’m not sure how it was planned to look like either tbh

    • I literally just got the mesh yesterday and was told to rig it

    • but I was just planned to put a basic rig since they’re not vital characters

    • we just needed some sort of animation in our film so Gerome created robots.

    • They don’t actually have an important impact on the film.

    • I think, it’s okay for a basic rig since the robots will intentionally be rigid. I just don’t want the arms to go backwards I guess lol. I just want it to move somewhat normal.

    • Sorry for the long explanation by the way. I’m not quite sure how it was intended to look when animated. Even Deon isn’t sure.

  • Arpit Achha

    6 May

    Arpit Achha

    • Seen as this is a mechanical character, you may have been better off modelling it in separate pieces and using curves with Orient constraints to the parts that move.
      My suggestion would be that you remodel the arms and the parts that you want to move as a separate mesh and constrain it with controllers, which would be the easiest way. This looks very complicated for skeletal rigging.

  • Dominique Koomoshan

    6 May

    Dominique Koomoshan

    • I didn’t model this lol

    • It was Gerome who did. I got the file from Deon.

  • Arpit Achha

    6 May

    Arpit Achha

    • yea I don’t mean to say you made a mistake haha but I think this model is hard to be rigged mechanically

    • sorry I cant help

Taking on board what Arpit said, I deleted the IK handles and decided to parent the joint to the control with an orient constraint. Instead of moving the controls, you would rotate. This worked quite well particularly for the fingers when curling them into the palm. However, the next problem I encountered was trying to keep the controls in uniform and to stay with the joints and mesh.

 

arm_rig_001arm_rig_003arm_rig_002  arm_rig_004 

You can see that when I moved the arm, the controls would go flying off. I’m not exactly sure what happened with the last image…the rig may have broken although it was somewhat humorous in an annoying situation. I couldn’t contact Arpit anymore because he was in Stuttgart but thankfully James Waters was kind enough to help me through this.

Here are a few emails we exchanged:

Hi Dom,

I have attached a file which demonstrates how each curve is parented to the next.  The knuckle controls of the fingers are all parented to one another, going down to the knuckles themsleves, which are in turn parented to the wrist.  The wrist is parented to the elbow and elbow to the shoulders.  In addition to that, make sure that the history of all the curves are deleted, the transformation is frozen and pivots are centred with the curves before you make any constraints.

I would also recommend creating drivers for the fingers as it is less laborious than animating each knuckle control individually.

I hope this is useful and let me know if you need any more help.  Particularly if you want to set up an IK/FK switch.

To James

Sorry James, but the file got corrupted :/ Also when you said the pivots centred, where should the pivots be? Do you mean pivots centred of each control, or the whole mesh? I’m not sure what you meant. Would you suggest I go back to the beginning to make sure I sort out these pivots first since I’ve already added orient constraint.

Ah ok, basically, what I meant was that when you select a control, the pivot should show up in the centre of that control.  When I initially opened the file, I found that the pivots for many were very out of alignment with their respective controls.  Yes definitley go back to the beginning and make sure each pivot is centred within each control.  Hope that makes sense.

 

Here is the same file, this time saved as .ma, so you should be able to open it.

 

To James

Sorry about this but I’m having another problem 😦 I tried parenting like you said and it duplicated the controls :/ I did delete the history and freeze transformations

 

arm_rig_007

Hey, that is strange, I have never come across that before.  Do the duplicate controls have any impact on the joints themselves?

To James

Yeah it does, it seems to restrict the joints, as if it’s torn between the two duplicates.

Ok, Dom.  I see you sent me two files; the more recent one, 026 looks perfectly fine to me, all the relevant constraints have been applied and each of the controls are parented so nice going with that.  It needs to be weighted, so it will be believable as a mechanical character, but I’m sure you know that anyway.
Yes, always use the default settings when you’re constraining; the only change you should make is checking the “Maintain Offset” box.  Anyway, I’m glad this was of use; I’ve been working on here all day so I’m going to finish up for the night.

Speak to you soon.

After exchanging many emails back and forth and speaking over Facebook, I finally managed to sort out my problem. I simply had to parent all the handles together. The legs were already done as the IK handles worked perfectly fine. Before James I had asked Niko about the rig the day before but he was too busy. He decided to also rig the same robot and gave it to Ash.

comparing controls

However, when inspecting Niko’s rig, I noticed the control on the robot’s waist wasn’t working the same way mine had. When I moved the control down it would bend the legs as if adding weight. When I tried Niko’s, it dragged the whole robot down. I looked at the file on both Niko and Ash’s machine and it worked fine. Niko sent me a fresh copy of the scene and even Ash sent me his animated robot and it STILL would not work on my laptop. I wondered if my Maya be buggy since while I was working on these rigs, they would suddenly break without being able to undo. Thankfully I had common sense to constantly save and particularly as a new file (I had about 40 scenes of different stages of me rigging). I think the arms on Niko’s robot bent better and more mechanically as mine seemed to squish like a human’s arm. Niko didn’t rig the fingers though which is the difference between ours. I decided to make the most of that difference by making sure to position the fingers in a pose.

 

Here is a video of the rig I did for the worker robot

Although I hadn’t actually rigged the legs yet in this rendered image, you can see that I have rigged the arms and fingers which I think works.

After this one, the next robot didn’t seem as difficult due to the fact that I’ve overcame the many problems this seemed some what easier for me.

Soldier_Rigged

However, due to the way the joints were, I wasn’t able to parent controls to the hips and be able to create weight on the legs/ball. That was one thing I had much difficulty with. I also learnt from Niko how to take away weights when painting weights, this was something I’ve never really been able to do (I usually use the component editor but this time I used the painting weights tool since the meshes should NOT be influenced by other joints since they’re metal, not human flesh). That was the only regret I had about this rig and if I had time I would have tried to get around that.

Testing rig of soldier robot
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s