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MarkJTaylor
04-08-2003, 03:53 PM
At the moment im in the process of learning how to Rig a character. I'm sure this is normal however I have hit the stage where you want to rip your eyes out of thier sockets; and your forced to nail your computer to your desk just so you can refrain from hurling it out the window. Sound familiar?

I literally cannot get my head around this. I've followed books, tutorials, and honestly; my outcome is never ever ever right.

Eventually when I do manage to fluke my way through rigging bones, I get to the weightmapping. Oh lord don't start me on these things; I litterally cannot understand how these work. I've read tutorials on how to weightmap a leg, however when it comes to doing the rest of the body? What percentages do i use? What areas of influence does it have? This whole process stinks of Math *shudder*


If anyone can just shoot out some ideas, tips, or anything that could help this process from killing me; please feel free.

Maxx
04-08-2003, 05:23 PM
Weight maps I can't hep you on - they're pretty much a black art to me, too. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't and I could swear that I set them up the same. :confused:

Anyway, if you don't have it, Timothy Albee's Character Animation book is fantastic. It walks through several chapters on rigging an entire human, with sidebars about things that could be done differently, and (IMO) satisfactory explanations of why certain bones are placed in certain places at certain times, etc. Well worth checking out. If you do have the book - have you tried Evil Plan's stuff? (Although these tuts may be gone - I think Todd's CD tuts just came out.)

Keep plugging. I usually keep a stack of crap character designs (the only kind I do!) by my desk - they work quite well when in the mood to rip and tear... Good luck!

SplineGod
04-08-2003, 06:48 PM
Originally posted by MarkJTaylor
At the moment im in the process of learning how to Rig a character. I'm sure this is normal however I have hit the stage where you want to rip your eyes out of thier sockets; and your forced to nail your computer to your desk just so you can refrain from hurling it out the window. Sound familiar?

I literally cannot get my head around this. I've followed books, tutorials, and honestly; my outcome is never ever ever right.

Eventually when I do manage to fluke my way through rigging bones, I get to the weightmapping. Oh lord don't start me on these things; I litterally cannot understand how these work. I've read tutorials on how to weightmap a leg, however when it comes to doing the rest of the body? What percentages do i use? What areas of influence does it have? This whole process stinks of Math *shudder*


If anyone can just shoot out some ideas, tips, or anything that could help this process from killing me; please feel free.
Weight maps - Dont use them unless you absolutely need them. Try using some extra hold bones first. Determine where you may need weight maps first by checking out how it deforms with just bones. Use them only where needed. Why put weight maps in all the fingers if theyre already working fine? The only parts to worry about is where you have overlapping weight maps, usually at joints. I usually model the joints carefully to make it more conducive to bending properly and for adding weight maps if needed.
Bones - Set the bone falloff to ^128 as a start. Try using a few additional hold bones before using weight maps. You cant tell how bones are going to effect your mesh until you actually try a few poses out like at frame 10 or something, leaving frame 0 as your rest pose. Once you pose the character to check out deformations then you can start tweaking things like rest length, bone strength etc etc.
A great plugin for use with bones is Orthpedics for Lightwave at
www.irrationalnumber.com... think skelegons in layout. :)
Depending on how deep you want to go with characters I have a 3 month course with over 60 hrs of lecture as quicktime movies and you have access to a forum where you post questions and can have your work critiqued. The course covers Character modeling, Texturing, Rigging and Animating in FAR more depth then anything out there now plus all the support. You can see more info on it at: http://www.splinegod.com/professionalcharacterseries.html
I also have CDs with the same lectures from the Newtek Tours.
The World Wide Tour CD is 10 hrs of material covering a variety of topics and has a pretty decent section on character modeling, rigging and creating a walk cycle.

hrgiger
04-08-2003, 08:20 PM
Weight maps are fairly intuitive once you understand how they work Mark. Like Maxx said, Timothy Albee's book will give you a good idea about weight mapping. Here's how I apply weights to my characters, which incidentially is pretty much how Timothy Albee does it. I'll use the arm as an example. Select the ring of points at the elbow joint. Make a new weight map called forearm and give it 50% influence. Now with those same points selected, make another weight map called bicep and give those 50% influence. Now, select the next ring of points going down onto the forearm. This time, use the set value button under the maps tab. Use the drop down menu in set value to once again select your bicep weight map. Make the value 25%. Now with those same points, make the forearm weight map a value of 75%. The next set of points down will be 100% forearm and no bicep influence at all. Do you see what I'm getting at? You just want to blend the weight maps but have the values add up to 100%. You should be able to figure it out from here.

Now a more important question. Do you want to learn to rig, or do you want to learn to animate? If you don't really care about learning to rig and just want to jump into animating your characters, then I definately reccomend ACS4 ( http://acs.polas.net/acs/ ). It's the best $90 you'll ever spend. I know how to rig now but I hate doing it. ACS4 will allow you to rig an entire character in 10-15 minutes, weight maps or no weight maps.

MarkJTaylor
04-08-2003, 08:52 PM
Thanks for the responses everyone. I'll have a play around tonight and see how I go, using what you've shared with me.

hrgiger; I'm more interested in animating, not so much rigging. I looked into ASC4, however its PC Only at this time; I'm using a mac. So in order to animate, I guess I have to rig :/

SplineGod
04-08-2003, 09:10 PM
Originally posted by MarkJTaylor
Thanks for the responses everyone. I'll have a play around tonight and see how I go, using what you've shared with me.

hrgiger; I'm more interested in animating, not so much rigging. I looked into ASC4, however its PC Only at this time; I'm using a mac. So in order to animate, I guess I have to rig :/
Knowing how to rig wont hurt you either especially when you ever run into a situation where something thats been autorigged needs some tweaking and tuning.
Also, if youre just interested in animating then work with very simple characters. As soon as you start to worry about how your character is deforming while animating then youre back to rigging.
Animation per se has little to do with how well a character is deforming and is about physics, timing, acting and personality.

hrgiger
04-09-2003, 07:57 AM
True. Some rigging knowledge will never hurt you. I would definately reccomend Timothy Albee's book. It really got rid of a lot of hurdles for me when it came to rigging.

Sorry Mark, I wasn't aware that ACS4 was only available for the pc. That's the major downside of owning a mac I guess. As a pc user, I don't tend to notice whether there's a mac version or not. I don't know if ACS4 is planned to be ported to the mac, but I know that the setup machine by Anzovin studios is going to be at some time, although it's twice as much as ACS4 (around $200).

hrgiger
04-15-2003, 02:40 PM
Hey Mark, ACS4 just became available for macintosh users. Check it out:

http://acs.polas.net/acs/

daveythegravy73
08-21-2003, 10:45 AM
Hi there,

There ias an amazing rigging video tutoria for LW at 3d-palace. Watch it and you won't look back.

Best Wishe

daveythegravy