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The art of rigging: relativity & reference

July 24, 2007

Charles

Probably the most important aspect of rigging, infact what we can sum rigging up is relativity – everything relies on. If its the mesh its relative to a skin, the to the bones and the bones to a rig. And even at the finite level the controls of the rig are relative to a other controls – they exist in a space of there own but are relative to something else even if this is the world.

Rigging is relativity and reference – its a bold statement but is the basis for everything needed. Everytime you parent or constrain an object to another you set its relativity and its reference. The key to rigging is a system where both dont fight but work hand in hand with one another. A good example is the spine – the animator wants control of the hip, chest and head. But also wants control of the torso (everything) – they also dont want counterotation and the ability to hold a pose.

 Its a lot of systems but if we boil it down to relativity and reference its relatively (pardon the pun) straight forward. The hips are parented to the torso – so we have defined a refence: the torso and a relavity (torso-hip) to work in. The chest is parented to the torso, the same applies here. But the head is different the neck is really a part of the spine and really moves with the chest, but the problem comes in that we want it to move with the head when needed.

So we define 2 references – firstly we set the heads position relative to the chest, but its rotation to the torso. This means when we rotate the chest the head moves with it but crucial stays pointing at a target. But additional if we move the head the neck will follow – this is via an ik system or lookat/pole vector – simple stuff.

So when building a rig really understand whats relative to what, and understand the methods and math of space.

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