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"Drop-In" rigging method for Animation Master

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(Edit: December 26th, 2014. The forum post for the finished version of this rig is at this link.)

 

I’m posting this thread to bring attention to something rigging related that I’ve been working on for awhile.

Please have a look at these two posts at my web site:

“Drop-In” Rigging method for Animation Master
Video runtime 27 minutes 10 seconds

and alternately

Rigging Ian with the Poker Rig
Video runtime 33 minutes 43 seconds

Basically what the posts and videos describe there is an automated way to install a complex rig into your models by positioning only the model’s geometry bones and the assigning the CP bones to them. This provides a very flexible rigging process which eliminates the need to use “Install Bones” to maneuver the complex underlying rig.

It is a little reminiscent of Anzovin's Setup Machine.

It works well and I am currently in the process of using it in Steve Shelton’s “Buying a Coffee Shop” project.

I’m in the process of tweaking a few things based on some valuable feedback from “mouseman” (Chris Dailey) and I hope to release this to the A:M community once I finish tweaking a few details.

In the meantime I’d appreciate any questions or suggestions that you may have about this.

Thanks.

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Excellent, very interesting. As a life long hater of rigging I take my hat off to all who actually enjoy doing it let alone developing rigs!

Do keep us posted as you develop this system further and let us know when you have something you feel ready for the rest of A:M community to try out.

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That really is an impressive setup and way to work :).

I learned a lot about how some things work with the relationships and installation-bones and I love how easy it looked and feel :).

 

Very well done :)

 

See you

*Fuchur*

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Great work. Unfortunately this video scares the heck out of me because I feel I would have to quit my full-time paying job to learn all this stuff. I'm still trying to learn how to model. What I am most impressed with is the amount of talented people on this forum. I don't know how many people here are professional animators or hobbyists but if I could afford a way to get everyone together for a international meeting of the minds at a hotel conference room it would be pretty terrific. Continued success to everyone here.

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I'm always impressed by the folks that understand the rigging process. Especially when they understand it to the extent where they can create and adapt their own.

 

I viewed the "“Drop-In” Rigging method for Animation Master" video and there are some nice insights into rigging and workflow I hadn't noted before.

One aspect I have struggled with is that of examining a rig to determine how it is working. (i.e. what is that control doing there and why do I need to use it)

Another is to better understand how a model needs to be built to take advantage of a rig that is installed. (i.e. when is it ideal to modify a model's mesh because it isn't going to be able to take advantage of the rig that will be installed)

Could 2014 be the year where finally I break through into rigging? I'd like to think so as I plan to devote time to learning more.

 

I couldn't watch your second video "Rigging Ian with the Poker Rig".

The video controls appear but for me don't work.

 

Thanks for helping us delve further into the world of rigging Mack. :)

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Update: My browser still won't play the second movie but it did let me Right Click, Download and Save.

(Strange)

 

At any rate: I'm set to view "Rigging Ian with the Poker Rig".

 

Thanks!

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Thanks markw.

 

I'm hoping to have something out for this by mid-January. I'm just trying to decide which rig to setup with this first. I might do a mixture of a few different rigs for the first rig or the A:M 2008 rig.

 

I've even studied the Squetch rig and have a tenative strategy on how to set that up (I need to study it more though) but if I do that that will be a little later on.

 

Once I finish some of the rigging for Shelton's coffee shop project I'll be a bit more focused on it.

 

 

Fuchur,

 

Thank you.

 

It is very easy compared to building the same rig from scratch. :)

 

 

Keith,

 

The most that you'll need to know using this install method is how to assign control points to a bone. Knowing how to use control point weighting along with setting up smartskins is also very beneficial. I will include instructions once I have a rig to release.

 

 

Rodney,

 

When I rig models that I have made I always end up adjusting the mesh to accomedate better deformations. Sometimes I also have to adjust things like the lengths of my model's arms because I did not get the proportion right while modeling it (you can see me run into that same scenario in the rigging Ian video).

 

"Another is to better understand how a model needs to be built to take advantage of a rig that is installed. (i.e. when is it ideal to modify a model's mesh because it isn't going to be able to take advantage of the rig that will be installed)"

 

In general you don't have to do anything much beyond laying out the mesh properly at the joints. The only situation where I might adjust a model to take advantage of a partcular rig would be if I were installing the Squetch rig or a rig that aims to achieve the same kind of functionality.

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that´s very cool! B)

 

i often had the same problem rodney has, feeling the need to adjust some geometry and bones after i´ve rigged a character. sometimes you just notice this stuff during the actual animation process when your character is completely rigged and weighted, and you don´t want to go back to your installation version and redo all the finetuning again. (i know the correct way would be to do all the finetuning before actually exporting the model, but some things always tend to slip my mind ;) ).

i mostly ended up adjusting the gemoetry bones, the control bones and any other bone involved in the ready rigged model, and this can easily end up in a nightmare before everything works as expected again, if you have no clue what you´re doing. that´s what i miss the most in a:m´s rigging process, the ability to adjust proportions and bone placements in the ready rigged model without having to adjust a bunch of bones, eventually reset relationships and so on.

 

in some other apps you have the ability to switch to adjust-mode, where you only have to move some simple controllers to adjust the proportions of your rig, and all the related bones and setups automatically adjust to that...

 

so here´s my thought: it would be cool to have some controller-nulls in a hidden folder which you could unhide, adjust, hit an update button of some sort, and all the bones and those related to them move in the correct newly defined place. no going back to the installation version, no need to re-export... this would also be great for making differently proportioned versions of one character (for instance for populating a scene background or something like that) without having to re-rig and re-weight...

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....so here´s my thought: it would be cool to have some controller-nulls in a hidden folder which you could unhide, adjust, hit an update button of some sort, and all the bones and those related to them move in the correct newly defined place. no going back to the installation version, no need to re-export... this would also be great for making differently proportioned versions of one character (for instance for populating a scene background or something like that) without having to re-rig and re-weight....

 

What if you had the animation rig bones use constraints (aim like 2?) to align with the geometry bones?, then if you adjusted the geometry bones, for a different character, the animation controls would refresh--I realize that would be circular, but maybe an on/off relationship switches from "rigging" where the geometry bones are primary, and "animating" where the control bones are primary.

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....so here´s my thought: it would be cool to have some controller-nulls in a hidden folder which you could unhide, adjust, hit an update button of some sort, and all the bones and those related to them move in the correct newly defined place. no going back to the installation version, no need to re-export... this would also be great for making differently proportioned versions of one character (for instance for populating a scene background or something like that) without having to re-rig and re-weight....

 

What if you had the animation rig bones use constraints (aim like 2?) to align with the geometry bones?, then if you adjusted the geometry bones, for a different character, the animation controls would refresh--I realize that would be circular, but maybe an on/off relationship switches from "rigging" where the geometry bones are primary, and "animating" where the control bones are primary.

 

Sebastian

 

Thanks.

 

I did try to work something like that out when I first started this rig project but I just could not find a way to make that possible. I think that extra features would need to be added to A:M in order to be possible. It sounds like you are talking about having A:M update the bone's default positions in a Model file based on changes made in an Action file. The only way to accomplish that at the moment is by exporting the changes.

 

William

 

I'm not sure if you watched the video but that is what this rig does (you could just skip to the end of the Drop-In video where I talk about what is happening behind the scenes). It does not refresh by itself so you would need to do that by hitting the "Conform Rig to Model" switch again and export again.

 

I'm probably going to post a rig of some sort over the weekend so you'll be able to try it out for yourselves and/ or dissect it to see how it works.

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Cool--I hadn't watched the video, so I was just conjecturing...looking forward to seeing it, it seems like a great idea

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The 2008 rig does the same thing. If you readjust the geometry bones, all you need to do is set all FK modes On and all the spine controls Off in the user properties, and then re export the model from an action.

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The 2008 rig does the same thing. If you readjust the geometry bones, all you need to do is set all FK modes On and all the spine controls Off in the user properties, and then re export the model from an action.

 

Really?

 

So does that mean that if I want to install the A:M 2008 rig into a character model then I really don't need to interact with anything at all except the geometry bones as long as the FK settings are "On" and the spine controls are "Off"?

 

Or does that depend on installing the rig as the directions instruct first and then making adjustments later on?

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I watched the video--really nice explanation at the end. Is there a 2008 rigged character around to play with? in your notes on the youtube page, you refer to TSM as if it no longer works with A:M, butt that is what I am still using...But this method looks pretty darn simple for installing.

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The 2008 rig does the same thing. If you readjust the geometry bones, all you need to do is set all FK modes On and all the spine controls Off in the user properties, and then re export the model from an action.

 

Really?

 

So does that mean that if I want to install the A:M 2008 rig into a character model then I really don't need to interact with anything at all except the geometry bones as long as the FK settings are "On" and the spine controls are "Off"?

 

Or does that depend on installing the rig as the directions instruct first and then making adjustments later on?

 

The only place that I see where it would be an issue is the hands and maybe the balance set (which no one probably uses). The reason for the install bones is to help position bones easier. There are a few parent and target bones that are hidden during installation, but if the manipulators are used to reposition the geometry bones, then it's probably not an issue.

 

IK arms, IK legs and all the spine controls are positioned during the export when they are all turned Off. The geometry bones are the FK setup.

 

Is there a 2008 rigged character around to play with?

 

Will, here's a model with the 2008 rig and a proto face rig. Or were you referring to Mack's rig?

JD_face.zip

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The 2008 rig does the same thing. If you readjust the geometry bones, all you need to do is set all FK modes On and all the spine controls Off in the user properties, and then re export the model from an action.

 

And the lite rig (and lite face) also uses a similar scheme for exporting from an action to position the control bones.

 

For me (for either 2008 rig and literig), it took some brain cell rewiring to remember the steps - ie which poses to turn on/off for re-exporting, and what the pitfalls were.

 

translation: At the time I hadn't formalized a process for myself, so that I could remember it easily, and I was mixing both rigs, along with my own tweaks (which also further complicated the process).

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