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cribbidaj

Rigging Frustration

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Hello - It's been a while since I posted on this forum. I've been slowly trying to develop characters for a music video. The attached is a 'Conductor' character (un-decaled) that I'm pretty happy with spline-wise, but rigging is another issue.

 

I've tried educating myself on the topic of rigging using various sources - "Art of A:M", a Fan Bone tut from a 2005 3D Mag issue, Matthew Krick's wonderful online tuts, various CD-ROMS purchased from the Hash site, including Raf Anzovin's, etc. - to various degrees of success.

 

Though I feel my best efforts came using the Matthew Krick tuts, I'm still not satisfied. The attached model has a basic rig and some fan bones on the right side following the 3D World tut. There is no smartskinning on this particular model as I've had various degrees of success there as well. My worst issues are in the pelvis/thigh/stomach regions. Perhaps my CP assignments are atrocious, but I've tried numberless options and am losing steam and patience.

 

Could I hire someone to teach me to rig THIS particular model as I feel I'd understand best using a model of my own creation.

 

Suggestions or advice?

 

Thanks,

Chris

Conductor__TialRIG_.mdl

conductor0.jpg

conductorBones0.jpg

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Hello - It's been a while since I posted on this forum. I've been slowly trying to develop characters for a music video. The attached is a 'Conductor' character (un-decaled) that I'm pretty happy with spline-wise, but rigging is another issue.

 

I've tried educating myself on the topic of rigging using various sources - "Art of A:M", a Fan Bone tut from a 2005 3D Mag issue, Matthew Krick's wonderful online tuts, various CD-ROMS purchased from the Hash site, including Raf Anzovin's, etc. - to various degrees of success.

 

Though I feel my best efforts came using the Matthew Krick tuts, I'm still not satisfied. The attached model has a basic rig and some fan bones on the right side following the 3D World tut. There is no smartskinning on this particular model as I've had various degrees of success there as well. My worst issues are in the pelvis/thigh/stomach regions. Perhaps my CP assignments are atrocious, but I've tried numberless options and am losing steam and patience.

 

Could I hire someone to teach me to rig THIS particular model as I feel I'd understand best using a model of my own creation.

 

Suggestions or advice?

 

Thanks,

Chris

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I wont be any help. I am learning too and you are much farther along than i am. But I know the first question ppl are going to ask is.... What kind of problems are you having?

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I wont be any help. I am learning too and you are much farther along than i am. But I know the first question ppl are going to ask is.... What kind of problems are you having?

 

Yeah - I wasn't sure which forum to post this in. My problems generally stem from awkward CP and spline placement during poses and animation. This is definitely a question for an experienced rigger.

 

Enjoy your journey with A:M! If you have questions, this forum is a great resource!

 

-Chris

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Hey Chris,

I moved this topic over to 'Rigging and Relationships' as that seems appropriate.

Rigging can get pretty complex once you move past the basics so that's why we have a special forum for it. :)

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Hey Chris,

I moved this topic over to 'Rigging and Relationships' as that seems appropriate.

Rigging can get pretty complex once you move past the basics so that's why we have a special forum for it. :)

 

Thanks, Rodney. Sorry about the confusion. - Chris

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hi cribbidaj,

 

My first recommendation for someone to teach you how to rig this model from scratch would be Robcat. He is an excellent teacher in all things relating to AM. Other people such as Itsjustme and mtpeak have an extraordinarily deep knowledge of rigging. I would consider them "Experts". But Robcat is a natural teacher, and sometimes that's what you really need.

 

If none of those fine folks chime in for whatever reason, I would be happy to teach you how to rig this model from scratch. It sounds like you are just as interested in "getting it" as you are in getting your character rigged, so we would build our own rig from the ground up, one step at a time. You can email me at holmesbryant at gmail dot com to discuss further.

 

Meanwhile, you may want to read this tut on using control point weights to weight a face. Sorry, I couldn't find one on weighting hips and shoulders. CP weighting is often preferable to smartskin because it behaves more predictably. Smartskin is good to use as the last step to touch up problem areas CP weighting cannot address.

http://www.hash.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=34473

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hi cribbidaj,

 

My first recommendation for someone to teach you how to rig this model from scratch would be Robcat. He is an excellent teacher in all things relating to AM. Other people such as Itsjustme and mtpeak have an extraordinarily deep knowledge of rigging. I would consider them "Experts". But Robcat is a natural teacher, and sometimes that's what you really need.

 

If none of those fine folks chime in for whatever reason, I would be happy to teach you how to rig this model from scratch. It sounds like you are just as interested in "getting it" as you are in getting your character rigged, so we would build our own rig from the ground up, one step at a time. You can email me at holmesbryant at gmail dot com to discuss further.

 

Meanwhile, you may want to read this tut on using control point weights to weight a face. Sorry, I couldn't find one on weighting hips and shoulders. CP weighting is often preferable to smartskin because it behaves more predictably. Smartskin is good to use as the last step to touch up problem areas CP weighting cannot address.

http://www.hash.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=34473

 

Thanks, Holmes. Yeah, as much as I'd like to hire someone to just get this character rigged properly, I really need to have the knowledge in my toolbox for other characters. I feel like I've done a lot of the homework on the rigging subject, but for whatever reason (maybe plain lack of skill) I'm starting to lose focus and perspective.

 

I'll read your updated Face Rigging tut (thanks for the link) and try to apply and email you in the near future to take you up on your offer help me rig this model from scratch if you have the time to instruct me.

 

-Chris

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That's a great looking character! I wish I had character ideas like that.

 

I wont' have time right now to jump in and be much help, but I know Holmes or the other experts could 'splain it to you.

 

Here's a couple quick things I notice...

 

-the face could be substantially thinned out without losing the shape. especially the lips and cheek areas. you want those as minimal as you can stand to make them easy to rig.

 

-if you put the axis of the toe bone near the sole rather than in the middle you'll get a more natural motion. when you bend a shoe the sole never stretches, the rest of the shoe compresses

 

-the first joint of the fingers is too far out. In reality that knuckle is buried quite a ways into the palm. Look at yours and notice it doesn't turn at the edge of the finger webbing. (This is a very common mistake in CG characters)

 

-modeling that thumb flat with the palm will be a hassle to rig and animate naturally. That's putting it at one extreme of its natural range. Model it hanging down at a 45 or 90° angle. that's really a more natural default position to CP weight and move from especially when you have to reach the thumb across the palm to touch the opposing fingers.

 

 

-that tuxedo is cool. that will be a major challenge. When someone bends and turns the front of a garment like that will slide over their body more than it will stretch and shear as skin would. Can't wait to see how Holmes solves that! I'd like to see someone do that with AM cloth, but that would be an advanced topic.

 

-those shoulders aren't bad. It looks like you're understanding what fan bones do.

 

-you'll need to decide whether the eyelids will fit the eyes or the eyes will fit the eyelids. Right now they're in different counties.

 

 

-You probably know this but what you've got here is the geometry bones. By themselves they won't be a very happy "rig" to animate. Before you do this CP weighting and fanboning you should investigate what control rig you will want to use (Hint: don't invent your own just yet). You want to decide this first because each rig has a different naming convention for it's geometry bones and a different workflow for getting them in place to start out.

 

 

 

 

 

OK, that was more than a couple of things

 

 

 

Again, great looking character. I'm wondering what sort of musical mishap he's going to get into!

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My thinking is that you should install a pre-built rig like TSM2 or the 2008 Rig, Chris. All of the problems you will run into making your own rig will be worked out in those rigs already and you can concentrate on other things (either way you go, you'll get a great rig).

 

It's hard to tell because of the angle and looking at it in Bones mode, but, I'm thinking your splines could be reduced in the face...harder to tell what is part of the torso or the tails of the jacket in a few areas (a shaded wireframe render would be better to see what's going on with the splines). The biggest thing I run across when someone tells me their character is ready to rig is an overly spline-heavy character and bad spline layout. Too many control points will make it harder to do the CP Weighting and cause unwanted creasing. If you get the spline layout right (or very close), it's a lot easier to put in a rig.

 

My suggestion is that you post shaded wireframe renders from every angle so that you can get some feedback on the modeling. Then, when you've gotten a good spline flow (with only the splineage necessary), I think you should look at either TSM2 or the 2008 Rig. Just my two cents.

 

Good luck with your character!

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That's a great looking character! I wish I had character ideas like that.

 

I wont' have time right now to jump in and be much help, but I know Holmes or the other experts could 'splain it to you.

 

Here's a couple quick things I notice...

 

-the face could be substantially thinned out without losing the shape. especially the lips and cheek areas. you want those as minimal as you can stand to make them easy to rig.

 

-if you put the axis of the toe bone near the sole rather than in the middle you'll get a more natural motion. when you bend a shoe the sole never stretches, the rest of the shoe compresses

 

-the first joint of the fingers is too far out. In reality that knuckle is buried quite a ways into the palm. Look at yours and notice it doesn't turn at the edge of the finger webbing. (This is a very common mistake in CG characters)

 

-modeling that thumb flat with the palm will be a hassle to rig and animate naturally. That's putting it at one extreme of its natural range. Model it hanging down at a 45 or 90° angle. that's really a more natural default position to CP weight and move from especially when you have to reach the thumb across the palm to touch the opposing fingers.

 

 

-that tuxedo is cool. that will be a major challenge. When someone bends and turns the front of a garment like that will slide over their body more than it will stretch and shear as skin would. Can't wait to see how Holmes solves that! I'd like to see someone do that with AM cloth, but that would be an advanced topic.

 

-those shoulders aren't bad. It looks like you're understanding what fan bones do.

 

-you'll need to decide whether the eyelids will fit the eyes or the eyes will fit the eyelids. Right now they're in different counties.

 

 

-You probably know this but what you've got here is the geometry bones. By themselves they won't be a very happy "rig" to animate. Before you do this CP weighting and fanboning you should investigate what control rig you will want to use (Hint: don't invent your own just yet). You want to decide this first because each rig has a different naming convention for it's geometry bones and a different workflow for getting them in place to start out.

 

 

 

 

 

OK, that was more than a couple of things

 

 

 

Again, great looking character. I'm wondering what sort of musical mishap he's going to get into!

 

Thanks for the positive comments and for the plethora of advice - this is already a lot of great info to ingest. Thank you!

Seems like I need to address the excess of CPs and splines to begin with.

 

Robcat - your advice on the toe rigging, the thumbs, and the eyes is well received. I honestly have yet to grasp the relationship between the eyeballs and their sockets. I've got Burn Hogarth's anatomy books but no true depth of knowledge of anatomy. Every time I'm dealing with eyes in A:M things get wacky and inconsistent, so I appreciate your candor and will hopefully gain some knowledge in these areas working with Holmes.

 

David - I have not worked with the 2008 Rig, but have TSM2. Haven't used TSM2 in a few years (didn't they stop supporting it?). Maybe I'll have better luck if I try to use it now. It kinda overwhelmed me a few years ago.

 

From what I gather from both of you, creating my own control rig is not where I exist right now. That's understandable, but I've downloaded and tried the 'squetch rig' as well as Patason's Rig and TSM2 and, again, have not gotten a handle on them and became overwhelmed.

 

I will post wireframe renders from every angle after I spend some time addressing the 'too many CPs' issue. I think I get caught up in the contours of the face without regard or true knowledge for animating it (a difficult lesson to learn!).

 

Thanks for your help.

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David - I have not worked with the 2008 Rig, but have TSM2. Haven't used TSM2 in a few years (didn't they stop supporting it?).

 

TSM2 still works on the PC. I love it.

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Haven't used TSM2 in a few years (didn't they stop supporting it?).

 

Anzovin could no longer support TSM for Animation:Master so they released TSM2 to A:M Users for free.

 

Read more about it and its usage in the TSM2 forum area.

Robert and others have delved into its mysteries there.

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David - I have not worked with the 2008 Rig, but have TSM2. Haven't used TSM2 in a few years (didn't they stop supporting it?). Maybe I'll have better luck if I try to use it now. It kinda overwhelmed me a few years ago.

 

From what I gather from both of you, creating my own control rig is not where I exist right now. That's understandable, but I've downloaded and tried the 'squetch rig' as well as Patason's Rig and TSM2 and, again, have not gotten a handle on them and became overwhelmed.

 

I will post wireframe renders from every angle after I spend some time addressing the 'too many CPs' issue. I think I get caught up in the contours of the face without regard or true knowledge for animating it (a difficult lesson to learn!).

 

There's nothing wrong with working on building your own rig, if that's what you want to do...I think more people should. At present, the most complete instructional material for doing that would be part of Barry Zundel's tutorials...he sells them here. I don't have a copy of those tutorials, but I hear nothing but good things about them.

 

TSM2 or the 2008 Rig are easier to install and have more complete documentation than the Squetch Rig at this time, so that's what I would recommend. The Squetch Rig's documentation is slowly getting updated and will be released along with a huge rig update when everything gets finished. Even when that documentation is released, it's still going to take more to install though.

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David - I have not worked with the 2008 Rig, but have TSM2. Haven't used TSM2 in a few years (didn't they stop supporting it?). Maybe I'll have better luck if I try to use it now. It kinda overwhelmed me a few years ago.

 

From what I gather from both of you, creating my own control rig is not where I exist right now. That's understandable, but I've downloaded and tried the 'squetch rig' as well as Patason's Rig and TSM2 and, again, have not gotten a handle on them and became overwhelmed.

 

I will post wireframe renders from every angle after I spend some time addressing the 'too many CPs' issue. I think I get caught up in the contours of the face without regard or true knowledge for animating it (a difficult lesson to learn!).

 

There's nothing wrong with working on building your own rig, if that's what you want to do...I think more people should. At present, the most complete instructional material for doing that would be part of Barry Zundel's tutorials...he sells them here. I don't have a copy of those tutorials, but I hear nothing but good things about them.

 

TSM2 or the 2008 Rig are easier to install and have more complete documentation than the Squetch Rig at this time, so that's what I would recommend. The Squetch Rig's documentation is slowly getting updated and will be released along with a huge rig update when everything gets finished. Even when that documentation is released, it's still going to take more to install though.

 

Hey Guys -

 

As a follow up I've attached 2 pics of the geometry of the right half of the character's face and a 3 pics of the full geometry of the right side, all after CP 'thinning'. Please share your thoughts. I've made some adjustments to the lips and cheek areas but still question the 'animateability' of these areas. RobCat - notice new thumb placement. This version of the character is just the right half as I work better without the other half getting in my way.

 

Holmes - I've read through your face weighting tut and find it encouraging and informative. Before I contact you for rigging help I feel I need to work through this tut slowly. One of my problems when trying to accomplish a complex task in A:M such as rigging is that I start out patiently but end up trying my results and losing focus in the interim. I'm gonna try to accomplish one task of the tut at a time, leaving the software for awhile and coming back fresh between tasks.

 

David - I downloaded TSM2 from the Anzovin site but A:M 15.0f on a Mac running OS 10.4.11 won't load the HXT's.

 

Thanks,

Chris

conductorFaceSide0.jpg

conductorFaceFront0.jpg

conductorFullFront0.jpg

conductorFullSide0.jpg

conductorFullBack0.jpg

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TSM2 doesn't work on the current MacOS, and unfortunately Anzovin wont' be updating it.

 

If you can get to a PC that has AM installed you'd be ok to go. You'd only need that when actually running the TSM2 plugins.

 

I'd say the 2008 rig or Squetch is your likely bet otherwise.

 

 

On the splines... do you really need that many splines across the lips? I dont' see it.

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TSM2 doesn't work on the current MacOS, and unfortunately Anzovin wont' be updating it.

 

If you can get to a PC that has AM installed you'd be ok to go. You'd only need that when actually running the TSM2 plugins.

 

I'd say the 2008 rig or Squetch is your likely bet otherwise.

 

 

On the splines... do you really need that many splines across the lips? I dont' see it.

 

Ah . . . bummer about TSM & Mac . . . oh well.

 

Working on the lip splines. Thinning out the bottom lip is easy, getting the shape I want out of the top lip into the nose, not so . . .

 

-Chris

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also... up on the cheek where you got a 3-pointer next to a 5 pointer. Probably another way to do that.

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also... up on the cheek where you got a 3-pointer next to a 5 pointer. Probably another way to do that.

 

Ok - Thanks.

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I started to draw up some recommendations, but I think it was getting too confusing of a recommendation. So, I'll make some overall suggestions.

 

1. Reduce the overall splineage more. The forehead and top of the head look especially dense...the nose, cheeks and upper lip look a little heavy as well.

 

2. Eliminate as many hooks, three-point and five-point patches as you can...there are going to be some, but reduce them to as few as possible and put them in places that don't move very much.

 

3. Try to route your splines with the least contorted path you can...if they make extremely drastic twists, change the routing. The side view of the chin shows some drastic changes in direction for a few splines.

 

4. The way the splines come together at the end of the nose is something I would avoid.

 

5. You could probably get rid of a spline in the crease on the shoes between the toes and the foot.

 

6. You might be able reduce the splineage in the crotch area...hard to tell from a distance.

 

7. What I can see looks alright for the upper torso...there might be small things, but I can't tell.

 

 

Hope that helps, Chris.

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I started to draw up some recommendations, but I think it was getting too confusing of a recommendation. So, I'll make some overall suggestions.

 

1. Reduce the overall splineage more. The forehead and top of the head look especially dense...the nose, cheeks and upper lip look a little heavy as well.

 

2. Eliminate as many hooks, three-point and five-point patches as you can...there are going to be some, but reduce them to as few as possible and put them in places that don't move very much.

 

3. Try to route your splines with the least contorted path you can...if they make extremely drastic twists, change the routing. The side view of the chin shows some drastic changes in direction for a few splines.

 

4. The way the splines come together at the end of the nose is something I would avoid.

 

5. You could probably get rid of a spline in the crease on the shoes between the toes and the foot.

 

6. You might be able reduce the splineage in the crotch area...hard to tell from a distance.

 

7. What I can see looks alright for the upper torso...there might be small things, but I can't tell.

 

 

Hope that helps, Chris.

 

 

Very helpful, David - thanks. It really helps to have someone point me in a definite direction as you and RobCat have - otherwise I'm just flying blind and going through whatever it takes to get the shapes and contours to look right, regardless of the rigging and animation problems that may ensue. Need to really think in terms of poseability during the modeling process - not my strong suit! Sometimes feel like my instincts fight the software instead of adhering to what A:M innately does best.

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So . . . I've eliminated cp's & splines with extreme prejudice (see attached files). Not sure what to do with the nose and have deleted the eyeball as I need to redo that from scratch. Please let me know what you think.

 

-Chris

condHd_BirdsEye0.jpg

condHd_BirdsEye__shade_0.jpg

condHdSide0.jpg

condHdSide__shade_0.jpg

condFull__shade_0.jpg

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Hmmm . . . comparing these new geometry pics to the previous, it seems like all I did was move cp's around. Am I correct in this? - I honestly did do some deleting of splines and serious cp deletion and arrangement, using the contours of the face in Holmes' weighting tutorial as a general guideline (though my character is an older cartoonish male and his is a young female). I'm disappointed 'cause it really looks to me like I have a lot more deleting to do . . . am I right in this assessment?

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I keep hitting T to try to turn him. :P

 

here are some observations..

 

splineideas.jpg

 

 

 

The general strategy of splining is define the shapes by hitting the peaks and valleys and having as little on intervening slopes as possible.

 

 

 

 

Is this Stokowski without the "long-hair"?

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I keep hitting T to try to turn him. :P

 

here are some observations..

 

splineideas.jpg

 

 

 

The general strategy of splining is define the shapes by hitting the peaks and valleys and having as little on intervening slopes as possible.

 

 

 

 

Is this Stokowski without the "long-hair"?

 

 

That photo is extremely helpful - Awesome! Thanks. The lower cheek bottom lip area was bothering me as well. Don't know why I couldn't think of the end of nose that way - I've completed curved areas like that before - thanks! I'll address the yellow splines as well. Your point on "as little on intervening slopes as possible" should be obvious, but is a new concept for me.

 

You know, it does look like Stokowski - ha, ha! I actually was inspired to create this character after hearing Lukas Foss speak in an NPR interview last year. He has that great european 'mad-scientist' accent, kinda like the narrator of Disney's "Jack And The Beanstalk" - may be the same voice for the Disney "Uncle Scrooge" duck character?

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I'll add to what Robert has suggested. There also appear to be too many splines on the brow coming from the front, but it's hard to tell which ones to recommend to delete from a side angle. That starts with the number of splines used to make the eye sockets...try to use eight to ten for each socket. For the mouth, try to use around twelve splines.

 

I've also added two shaded wireframes of Squetchy Sam's face as an example...not perfect splineage, but decently clean.

 

Hope that helps, Chris.

cond_crit.png

Sam_face_front.png

Sam_face_side.png

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I'll add to what Robert has suggested. There also appear to be too many splines on the brow coming from the front, but it's hard to tell which ones to recommend to delete from a side angle. That starts with the number of splines used to make the eye sockets...try to use eight to ten for each socket. For the mouth, try to use around twelve splines.

 

I've also added two shaded wireframes of Squetchy Sam's face as an example...not perfect splineage, but decently clean.

 

Hope that helps, Chris.

 

 

Thanks, David.

 

Attached are some renders of the geometry as it stands now after addressing issues Robcat brought up. I feel I'm making good progress but there's still room for improvement.

 

The surplus of splines around the brow is for the eyebrow strands which I decided to build into the geometry. There may be a better way to address them, but I like the way they look as they are now (I've done some spline deleting). The area at the front of the ear are sideburns and, like the eyebrow strands, are perhaps not the most frugal way to address them, but to me they look good.

 

After making these edits I now am running into difficulty with the copy/paste mirrored function. Every time I 'zero' the inner spline on the x-axis i get what's in pic 3. I've run into this at odd times before - what is the problem? I've looked thoroughly at my inner spline but can't find the anomaly.

condHdSide__shade_0.jpg

condHd_BirdsEye__shade_0.jpg

x_axis_problem0.jpg

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Don't you feel better getting rid of all those splines?

 

I should warn you that most of my advice is not from having modeled many faces myself, but more from having rigged other people's.

 

 

Another spline strategy item is to avoid sudden changes in spline spacing. this is mostly for smoothness.

 

After making these edits I now am running into difficulty with the copy/paste mirrored function. Every time I 'zero' the inner spline on the x-axis i get what's in pic 3.

 

Is it possible there are two identical splines there, possibly left over from a previous copy paste attempt?

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Don't you feel better getting rid of all those splines?

 

I should warn you that most of my advice is not from having modeled many faces myself, but more from having rigged other people's.

 

 

Another spline strategy item is to avoid sudden changes in spline spacing. this is mostly for smoothness.

 

After making these edits I now am running into difficulty with the copy/paste mirrored function. Every time I 'zero' the inner spline on the x-axis i get what's in pic 3.

 

Is it possible there are two identical splines there, possibly left over from a previous copy paste attempt?

 

Yeah, Man. Even though there's still room for improvement and I'm still just preparing this model for the original reason for this post - to learn to rig it - it's empowering to make progress.

 

I'll check tomorrow to see if I've got a duplicate spline in there - right now, sleep!

 

Thank you guys. Keep the suggestions coming.

 

-Chris

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Don't you feel better getting rid of all those splines?

 

I should warn you that most of my advice is not from having modeled many faces myself, but more from having rigged other people's.

 

 

Another spline strategy item is to avoid sudden changes in spline spacing. this is mostly for smoothness.

 

After making these edits I now am running into difficulty with the copy/paste mirrored function. Every time I 'zero' the inner spline on the x-axis i get what's in pic 3.

 

Is it possible there are two identical splines there, possibly left over from a previous copy paste attempt?

 

Ok - I found and solved the 'inner spline problem'.

 

I'm pretty happy with the progress but am realizing that with simpler splines I also lose some of the age of the character. I'm aware that this can be addressed in a number of ways (decaling), but still is a shock to see the difference (see attached) between the original and the latest. Oh well, at least I'm closer to having an riggable, animateable model.

heavy_spline0.jpg

simple_spline0.jpg

heavy_spline_toon0.jpg

simple_spline_toon0.jpg

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