Rigging and Animating 3D Objects
Recently I have been working on a video project involving 3D animation. One of the of the most difficult, and time consuming processes in this project has been the preparation of the 3D object for animation, i.e. bone rigging.
It involves a lot of planning and experimentation to achieve the specific result you are looking for, if you’re looking for a specific result. Rigging in general is pretty straightforward, if all you are trying to achieve is a basic result with relatively limited animating capabilities and presets. But with this project I needed quite a bit more preparation to make things easier for myself when it came to actually animating.
Inevitably, I ran into several problems which had me stumped for long periods of time. What made many of these problems somewhat more aggravating is that the solution ended up being as simple as changing one property of one bone constraint, or modifying where the head of a bone was positioned by a very small amount, and suddenly everything would fall into place. But through this I also gained valuable experience which will make things faster and smoother the next time around.
I came up with 3 main concepts which I thought were most important for me to keep in mind while I’m rigging to make the process go smoother, no matter what it is that I might be rigging.
The first, and perhaps at once the most obvious and yet something I consistently tend to forget, is bone placement in relation to the object mesh. This is the biggest determining factor in how the vertices of the mesh move when they are weighted. So if you’re mesh isn’t deforming the way you want it to, and the topology is decent, check you’re bone placement. Even a small change in bone placement can make a huge difference in good mesh deformation.
The second is bone roll. This is the amount, in degrees, of a bone’s rotation around its “Y” axis in relation to its original local transform. Its effect is most evident when viewed in relation to parent or child bones within the confines of a rigging constraint. If you find your bone constraints aren’t producing the desired effect, and they are set up the way you want, check your bone roll. When you do make sure to have your bone’s local X,Y, and Z axes visible, it will make things go a lot smoother.
The third and last is keeping in mind local vs. world coordinates, especially when it comes to rigging constraints. Forcing yourself to continuously keep track of what constraints should be set to affect local and which ones should be set to affect world coordinates can mean the difference between an hour long headache trying to figure out why a constraint that works by rotating one bone doesn’t work by rotating another bone in the same parenting chain, and having everything go smoothly the first time around.
Thanks for reading. =) Like and share if you found this post useful.
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