Category: rigging


For the last few months I’ve been building my own modular rigging framework and tools. As a very early version, I try to make the UI as simple as possible. There are a few professional projects around. I’ve just added a page Gems to jot them down. Some UIs are quite “stunning” to me. Although rigging could be complicated, I hope I can simplify things unless neccessary.

Here I find the Python Style Guide by Google. I did write years of MEL and it could be hard to manage when it goes over several thousand lines. I’m now learning to refactor codes as frequent as possible to shorten pick-up time.

Disassemble and Rebuild 2

Having subscribed another month of ProRigs in April, there are always little thing to learn. For example, the outsole of a running shoe is usually a bit off the ground. In the past I would see it as pure flat. In their rigs I found that a simple extra set-driven-key is added at the very start during the foot roll. The action is more believable with this tiny detail.

I came across an impressive reel by Mateusz Poplawski This is inspirational on how rig features could be shown in a concise way. Recently I’m checking with the characters by ToyRig Not only they are free, the smearing feature is amazing. Just like some of the rigs some joints and meshes are locked and hidden. So if you want to see them for study purpose, open the file in an editor. Search with the hidden node name. The answer is quite obvious ūüėÄ

Disassemble and Rebuild

Giant Man,

There’s always a lot to learn in other’s rigs. The characters by ProRigs are affordable and the models are nice. The arrangement of attributes is clear and the ribbon setup is well designed.

I would subscribe later for further study since my current month’s subscription is about to end. Time to jump back to previously unfinished tutorials for a clearer picture of rigging a complete character.


Catching Covid finally after it’s been prevailing in Hong Kong for that long. Right now I’m quarantined in an interesting government facility and will be released soon hopefully.

At work there are some studies to be done to make use of Metahuman‘s setup somehow. It seems problematic when applying on tiny characters and faces with entirely different proportion. Anyway sharing of similar technologies is truly welcome. More artists could make better work by standing on the shoulder of the giant.

Soft IK and more

Packing up some maya stuff I done in the past few months and learning 3dsMax for the coming new job.

The soft IK feature is one of many rig features I wanna to implement many years ago. It’s like all other features, not super hard and you could get it once you’re willing to dedicate to figure out what the hell the logic is. I wonder that my method may not be the best and there must be some simpler one . . .

Recently I would recommend the 8 classes of Cartoony Facial Setup by Puppeteer Lounge. They show the use of wire deformer effectively which works well for general cartoony face. For very stylized or detailed cartoony face I might stick with the general joint based method.

And I found an informative post about some recent rigging techniques !

Maya Update

Finally there is a “flip” blendshape function in Maya 2016 ext2. Before that I have to create a flipped mesh first, and then assign the extracted to the blendshape target. This is the only reason I’m switching to ext2 so far. Their sculpt brushes are weirdly slow so I’m sticking with Shape 3.0‘s Brush tool and looking forward to the support of latest version. The new pose space deformer is confusing to me and the lack of shape extraction means my tools are still valuable !

Responding to the maya camera to AE shake test I did before, I’m sure it works. This is a handy workflow that you could have the shake quick in playblast and still be adjustable in post. Closeup and distant layers may need different amount of shaking to look right.

Corrective Fix Setup

It’s more difficult than expected.

  • Fix shape creation
    I’m using maya 2016 blendshape editor’s new “edit” feature. Suprisingly¬†it doesn’t work for all types of blendshape node, which mean I have to prepare a parallel blendshape for fix shape creation.
  • Delta shape extraction
    I’m using the script¬†extractDeltas¬†by Brave Rabbit with minor¬†modification.¬†It does half of the job. Assigning delta shape manually could be very tedious too. I have to automate it too so that the user wont’t see any delta shape.
  • Pose Space Deformer as shape target driver
    An easier way is to use the method of locator driver with pointConstraint as in the character Ray.¬†It works well with small rotation angle not bigger than¬†90. But I prefer a general solution with possible angle from 0¬†to 180, which work from elbow to any other parts. Thus I’m implementing one based on the texture-based PSD method by Harry Houghton.¬†I still can’t avoid the euler rotation problem since PSD has to follow in some areas like wrist twisting. They could be¬†solved in specific ways, either by¬†aimConstraint or direct connection.

By the way, the Shape¬†plugin by Brave Rabbit probably do all the work mentioned above. Anyway it’s very close. Automating the opposite side and implementing reusing features would take the final little extra thought.

Skin Weighting

Skin weighting is always another tedious process¬†I’m trying to speed up.¬†I tried the new Delta Mush in Maya 2016 but there is no way to transfer the weight from the deformer to skinCluster. People are writing their own plugin to do that

Better Skinning

Webber Huang shows a¬†great tool and workflow in the video¬† I installed¬†it but sadly it doesn’t work for my character with ribbon limbs setup.

Recently I’m using the smoothSkinClusterWeight plugin by Brave Rabbit, which already help speeding up smoothing¬†a lot. Hopefully I could use it some day. Skinning is a not a¬†fun¬†task always.

Last Job

I was in charge of¬†all the body and facial¬†rigging for¬†the¬†TV commercial¬† Lots of corrective fixes were missing. The ribbon limbs were buggy. Some helper joints didn’t work as expected and no way for quick finger gesturing . . . ¬†Now I’m finishing a better rig, hopefully before the start of¬†the¬†next job.

Recently I would recommend the free rig, Ray from cgTarian, which has great appeal on the face and clean technical setup.