Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Get riggin' up in this bitch

The other role that I have in the team is the rigging of the swamp monster.  I began this by a process that I normally use for rigging humanoid characters, which is by applying a ROOT joint to the crotch area that will be used to select the whole rig.  I then created leg joints (hip, knee, ankle, heel, ball, toe) in the left leg that I duplicated over to right leg.  I parented both legs to the ROOT joint.

Next stage was to create joints directly from the ROOT that ran through the back, up to the chest and finally in the neck and head.  Here is how the rig looked now that I had applied it.

Next stage was to create joints and implement handles (IK and FK) in the left arm only.  There was no need to put joints in the right arm as that is mechanical and I used another method that I shall explain in greater detail in another post.

I put joints in the shoulder, elbow and wrist of the left arm.  I then parented the shoulder to the chest.  This monster was required to have both IK and FK handles; as the monster will need the free flowing movement of arms and legs that comes with FKs, along with the need to for the monster to climb and grab in the environment, which will be easier with IK handles.

I started by putting in the IK handle which ran from the shoulder to the wrist.  This meant that I could move the whole arm from a handle attached to the wrist.  
I then created a locator which I constrained to the IK Handle.  This will mean that the animator can control the angle of the arm and in particular the angle of the elbow, so that the monster can move in a flexible manor through the scene.

Next, I fitted the FK handles in the shoulder and wrist.  I did this by creating two curves that I put by those respective joints and then Parenting them.
In previous attempts to create FK Handles, I made the mistake of putting an FK Handle in the wrist as well, where the IK Handle was.  And this meant that if I switched to IK mode, it would start breaking apart and going out of place.  I soon discovered that I was only supposed to put curves in the shoulder and wrist, if I want both IK and FK.

In order to create a switch between the IK and FK handles, I created another curve, which I parented to the IK handle.  I created an attribute called IK Switch, and I created a driver, so that when the IK Switch was set to 1, the IK Handle could be used; whereas if it was set to 0, the IK Handle would be turned off. This means that the animator can now change between IK and FK easily and the monster can do whatever actions are required in the final project.

The rigging, as a process, is not yet complete but I shall document the next stages as I complete them.

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