View Full Version : Dynamic Parenting for Characters - ARRRGGGHHH!

09-21-2005, 01:00 AM
Hey guys,

Is it just me or does dynamic parenting in LW not work properly at all???

What I want to do is this: I have a standard character with IK arms and legs (it's actually based on Simple Rigger (http://www.animationsnippets.com/plugins/index.html)). As with most standard rigs, I want the character's hand control nulls to be parented to the root control (the characters waist) so the hands naturally follow when the character walks, runs, etc.

Now when the character needs to climb an obstacle like a wall, I would like to switch the parenting of the hands from the root control to the wall so his hands remain fixed to the wall while he pulls himself up. Then when he's over the wall i'd like to switch the parenting back to the root control null.

This should be pretty standard stuff right? Well I have been trying for days to get dynamic parenting to work the way I have just described with no luck. It seems that lightwave's "parenter" plugin doesn't allow the object that's been dynamically parented to be animated! I mean when I dynamically parent the hand control to the root control I "loose control of the hand"!!! :bangwall:

I've searched the forums for answers and even downloaded 3rd party plugs (in particular Richard Brak's RB_Parenting) which yielded even more whacky results than Lightwave parenting plugin!

Is there any Lightwavers out there who have encountered this problem and have a good working solution? Any help would be greatly appreciated :thumbsup:


09-22-2005, 01:55 AM
I wouldnt parent the IK goals to anything and simply animate them and not worry about any dynamic parenting.
Another option would be to parent the arm goals using channel follower in the graph editor or follower, bake the motions for the specified frames and then turn off follower/channel follower.
IMO the easiest option is the first one. I typicall just animate from pose to pose anyways and done parent the goals the way you mentioned. :)

09-22-2005, 03:34 AM
Well I am going to have to say I am with SplineGod on this one - as you might have guessed. :)

But since you have to swing the lamp I was thinking of this:

If you parent the whole rig to the lamp, the lamp would be stationary utill the character jumps on or climbs on or whatever and from that point on the lamp moves, you have him parented to it so all things from there will be relative.

From there, if the scenes are to be split up you could have other options there too.

09-22-2005, 04:46 AM
I'd not parent the goals to anything just like god already mentioned.

but if you want to do that anyway you could always create some Nulls you dynamicly parent the goals to and then animate those Nulls instead of the goals.

09-22-2005, 06:00 PM
Thanks for the suggestions guys,

For this animation I will use surrealist's technique. The scene i'm creating has a small character jumping onto a large vase that he climbs into. So when he jumps up and grabs onto the rim of the vase it shifts and tips with his weight. Parenting the character's master null to the vase will help with this.

Although it would be much easier if dynamic parenting worked the way it should. If I animate a character running I would parent his hand control nulls to its root controler null, then when the character comes up to an obstacle like a wall I should be able to shift the parent of the hands from the root to the wall. Doing things like temporarily using follower then baking out the channels would become very messy as soon as you have to do any retiming or adjustments to the original animation.

09-22-2005, 10:51 PM
Oh yeah, a vase. :)

Well hope it all works out. Let us know how you did with it.

Gui Lo
09-23-2005, 09:54 AM
I used dynamic parenting on a moth flying to a moving actors shoulder. It worked perfectly. I think your problem may be in the heirachy, in that maybe the plugin doesn't like the heirachy.

As part of the same job I had to animate a spider climbing out of a box. I used IKBooster to help me fix the legs as the spider climbed. Again this worked very well.

09-23-2005, 10:43 AM
Another thing I do sometimes is to use more then one rig with the same character in the scene. Rig1 is the character running. That rig I would use FK on the arms. Rig2 is parented to the vase and his first pose is the same as the last pose of rig one. It would have IK arms.
You can split this into two scenes as Surrealist mentioned or use object dissolve in the same scene.
When it comes to anything being controlled with expressions such as the body (auto centering) or IK Goals I almost always do what Toona mentioned: parent the Goals to the item being controlled with expressions of motion modifiers. That way you can still animate on top of the expression or motion modified item. :)

Gui Lo
09-23-2005, 05:57 PM
I looked again at the moth scene and I had a null attached to the shoulder which was parented to the main body. The moth is parented to the shoulder null rather than the main body.