Rigging/Skinning Question

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Rigging/Skinning Question // Archive: Tech Forum

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Post by Electric Jim // Jun 16, 2008, 6:55pm

Electric Jim
Total Posts: 98
I know that in certain 3D packages, it is recommended to have a figure's and skeleton's joints slightly bent at their natural angles when first attaching the figure & skeleton, or when assigning a "neutral" pose. (For example, rather than having the arms point straight out, have them slightly bent at the elbows. And instead of having the legs hang straight down, have them slightly bent at the knees.) Doing so supposedly helps those programs' IK solvers reach appropriate solutions during subsequent posing and animation.

Question: Is this also recommended in trueSpace (assuming one has the option of creating the figure this way), or can one just as well leave the arms and legs perfectly straight when attaching the skeleton to the figure and assigning the default (neutral) pose? (I note that the tutorial videos in the manual have the figure's limbs "straight" as the skeleton is built inside it, but that could be simply because that's how the pre-built figure mesh happened to be constructed, rather than because that's the ideal configuration.)

For my current project I'll actually be attaching the separate elements of a segmented -- i.e., "robotic" -- figure to individual bones, rather than attaching a single organic figure to a skeleton as a whole. So I can arrange the individual segments as necessary (and arrange the skeleton similarly) before attaching each segment to a bone. But I believe it would actually be simpler -- especially when it comes time to assign rotation limits to the joints -- if I could leave all the limb segments at nice right angles to each other (arms pointing straight out, legs pointing straight down, etc.). This should facilitate using the numeric entry panels when specifying the rotation limits, rather than the visual "click & drag" method. (The latter would seem to make it harder to duplicate rotation limits exactly in mirrored limbs.)

Any info/recommendations would be appreciated.

Post by Burnart // Jun 16, 2008, 8:39pm

Total Posts: 839
It seems a question of modelling choice really - what works best for you or what method makes sense to you. Having a bit of pre-bend seems like a good idea to me but presumably it can add complication to the already complex task of uv mapping.

What I can tell you is that the joint bending with a tS 7.51 skeleton is very smooth with a level or 2 of subdiv.

Post by Electric Jim // Jun 18, 2008, 12:49am

Electric Jim
Total Posts: 98
Without any indication that I need to do otherwise, I've decided to just leave all the limbs at convenient right angles (arms straight out, legs straight down), and proceed that way. (It makes things easier for someone as anal retentive as I, who likes to use the numeric panels for as much entry as possible when setting up the rigging.) If this ends up causing any difficulty posing/animating, I'll give a holler. :)

Post by Jack Edwards // Jun 18, 2008, 2:47am

Jack Edwards
Total Posts: 4062
Jim, let us know how it goes. :)

Post by W!ZARD // Jun 18, 2008, 3:12am

Total Posts: 2603
Hi Electric Jim - Cool handle BTW :D.

I've seen a few references to constructing your character mesh with the knees, elbows and shoulders already slightly bent. I've never found it necessary myself (although you should note that I don't aim for true photorealism) and from what I've seen this is the most common approach:

What I do is built the character mesh so it's standing with arms extended and legs straight in the classic Da Vinci Vitruvian man pose. What I also do is angle my geometry at the joints so it aids the flow of the joints motion. The idea is to aim for geometry in which the individual vertices move as little as possible while still deforming the mesh to the desired range of limb movement.... erm, I could probably have said that more clearly but hopefully you get the idea;)

Good luck
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