In order to have more control over my character’s animation, I decided to rig him from scratch myself. For this particular project I used blender, the manual nature of this program means I had more control over the armatures and animation.
Below we can see the unrigged version of my character, the bones were simply added with the armature tool. Other than the legs, the bones were placed rather sparingly, i didn’t want to complicate the rig with hip or shoulder bones, so I just stuck with arms, legs, neck and facial bones.
After the bones were correctly placed, the model needed to be weighted to the right bones. Weighting a model means that in order for the bones to be able to control the model, certain armatures need to be applied to a certain area, this can usually be done automatically without trouble. The final weight painting example can be seen at the bottom of the post. I found that in order to make the character position easier, I should make use of inverse kinematics. I decided just to use this on the legs in order to keep the toes down while the leg was being pulled back. Although they helped with the legs, I found it best to leave them out of the arms. The two bones in front of the model are to give the knees a point of reference, so that they do not rotate where they shouldn’t.Rigging and weighting my character’s mouth proved to be the most challenging aspect of the rig. I created the model with the mouth originally closed, so the automatic weighting didn’t get it quite right, this meant I had to re – adjust. Below is the finished rig of my character, in the end I created bones for: The upper jaw, lower jaw, head, neck, upper torso, lower torso, upper arms, forearms, hands, fingers, knees, lower legs, feet and toes. The amount of bones was more than I anticipated at the beginning, however they are all completely necessary. Below is an example of a weight painted bone. The red represents a strong influence over a particular area, blue or black means absolutely no influence. around the parameter of a red zone there are usually bright blue or green spots, these represent minor influence, allowing the character not to fold too strongly.