Rig a Non-Animated Character: Yes or No


(Gary Phelps) #1

Hello all!

I'm planning on building a scene with 4 characters in it, like a sculpture, so not animated. The character is the same person, just in 4 variations of outfit, so the body will be the same, with slight changes in face to match change in age.

My question is should I rig a base model, then add on clothing to each and pose them, or should I model each model in the pose it is going to be in.

I've never done anything like this, never built a creature wasn't going to be made for animation.


(Waleguene) #2

Hi @GaryPhelps,

Imho, you should be able to do this by modeling it only once, and then use rigging to define different poses. I don't know which software you are working on, but you should be able to apply the rig modifier on your mesh to bake its effect. By this way, you get a static mesh with the pose you defined with the skeleton.

So, create the model in Tpose, rig it, and then duplicate it 4 times, set your poses and apply modifiers on each one to get your 4 static meshes :smile:


(Gary Phelps) #3

I use Maya.

I've done IK skeletons before, but don't know much at all as far as a rig modifier, or baking an effect. All 4 figures will be clothed, so I'm wondering how that works with rigging. I guess I'll have to study up on making realistic cloth too.


(Waleguene) #4

I think that you should be able to bake everything into a static mesh, whatever the type of modifier (rig, morph, physics, etc). For clothe, It will be better to use Maya's nCloth object :smile: but I have never done this, so I can't really help :confused:


(Gary Phelps) #5

By "bake everything into a static mesh" do you mean making the clothing and body one mesh and having the IK skeleton morph the whole thing? I don't understand the whole "baking" thing. I read about it with textures and didn't really understand what I read lol.


(Waleguene) #6

Yeah, that makes sense. The idea behind "baking" is that you apply the result of a modifier affecting a mesh, that means that the state of the mesh with the modifier becomes the original state of this same mesh.

Maybe this example will explain better: let's take a model of a straight iron bar. You create a skeleton with two bones, and you bend the iron bar using this skeleton, by rigging. The iron bar is visually bent but the original data of the iron bar mesh describes a straight bar (that's the purpose of a modifier, it modify an object in a non-destructive way, so that when you disable it, your object returns to its original state, straight iron bar).
Now you don't want to keep this skeleton, since you are only interested by the "bent version" of this iron bar => you bake the effects of the skeleton. Each software has its own way to do this (I don't know for Maya :confused:)

The result is the following: the original data of the bar is changed, and each of its vertexes have a new original position that corresponds to their position under the effect of the skeleton.

After that, you don't need the skeleton anymore. You only need to upload the mesh.

Now, coming back to your sample. You will probably do this for your characters, once for each pose. The only difference is that for the clothes, you will not bake the effect of the skeleton, but the effect of the nCloth (not sure of the name) modifier, that will deform your original cloth geometry.

To sum up, here is the workflow you may probably use for your case:
1. Create the base mesh (the character and its clothes) in T pose.
2. Create a skeleton and set it to your mesh.
3. Add and set the cloth modifier (or maybe it is already included in nCloth object) and set the parameters.
(3.bis Here, you may do a copy of your scene or of your geometries/skeleton.)
4. Tweak the bones to create the first pose. Your charachter will have the pose, and the clothes will be correctly deformed by this pose.
5. Bake both the skeleton on the body, and the cloth modifier to the nCloth (that can probably be done by converting your nCloth object to regular mesh)
6. Your first pose is ready, you can now repeat from 4 with each of your copies to create poses 2, 3 and 4.

I hope it answers your question :smile:


(Gary Phelps) #7

This makes a lot more sense.

As for baking, it sounds a lot like Maya's delete history is it. It basically gets rid of all the information that went into the construction of the object. Once you delete the history, the object is locked into exactly what it is at that point. Prior to deleting history, you could undo a lot of what you did, like extrusions or number of subdivisions in your polygonal object.

Thank you waleguene for all your help. I might try to go ahead and rig. I'll have to work on skin weights, but that might prove less work than actually modeling 4 figures in 4 poses.