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Rigging retrospective (part one)

August 20, 2007

Charles

So Ive been away on vacation over the past two weeks in beautiful Montreal (an amazing city). I had time to think about rigging, ways to break it up and what it is at its heart: intergrating systems.

Rigging can be regarded as modular in one sence and choatic in another. It can also be though of a group of systems that interact with each other in simple and hybrid types of ways. There are three main ‘Driven Systems’ at its heart:

Kinematic – the animator drives the rig with keyframes, purely controlling the puppet and f-curves

Procedural – the animator drives values which adds automatic driven motion, the wave if you will doesnt however have to be procedural and handmade in a fourier synthetic way.

Dynamic – the animator drives controls in which there ‘children’ act in a physically based way. The controls themselves could also act dynamic.

Theses are the bases, but many hybrid versions of these can be combined, waves driving dynamics for instance. A rig should only support this if its really really neccesary – we need to understand what a rig needs. At its heart is what the animator wants, especially interms of control. But we can also make our own assumptions and give some basic rules in constructing a rig:

1. A rig is a series of systems.

This can be a hard idea to understand, but if we treat a part of a rig as a system than a series of joints (more of an outwardly looking in analysis), we can work out what we need. A good example is a tentacle – because were are treating this entirely as a system – e.g. a splineIK base with a layer of FK controls. The tentacle is treated as a whole unit and this is how we should look at it when rigging. Lets break it down:

A tentacle that needs to be fk, dynamic, driven and procedural – we’ll first off we can pair these together fk/procedural and dynamic/driven as a system. By doing this we can see that the fk/procedural can ‘ride’ the dynamic driven system. And this dynamic driven system itself can be treated as one: A dynamic chain solution that rides a bezier spline based on tension, and a fk procedural system that rides this in tern.

A tentacle is essentially an easy example as we regard it as unit, but can this be the same for a wing, leg or even spine? A spine or torso can be summed up as three independant units that are glued together either or additionally by a positon or a main control. It can be regarded as a system. A wing is essentially an arm, that feathers ride along and intern have dynamics (air resistance etc)

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