Setting up the shoulder area of the marine - Part 1
published Thursday, 14 May 2009, 17:16 by rigg_vader
Learn how we handled the unique challenge of rigging the shoulders and arms of the marine - raising the bar in game rigging! This tutorial is aimed at beginning to intermediate riggers + anyone else interested in checking this part of the production out.
In a series on how we have rigged some of our characters for animation - here is a rundown of how we attacked setting up the shoulder and arm area of the main character "The Marine".
You might want to be a prospect rigger or 3D person to get the most from it, but I'll try to make it worthwhile, for anyone who finds this stuff fascinating - like I do! Just gloss over stuff, if there are parts you don't understand :-)
The shoulder/arm area of a biped character can be hard to setup, so that it looks right.
People have been known to use all kinds of tricks and techniques to get good results - From muscle simulations, corrective morphs, to lots of extra joints and other deformers. Since this is a games production, we are limited to using normal skinning and a fairly low number of joints.
The Marine design features all kinds of padding, buckles and other details in the shoulder area. These all have unique materials and behaviors we expect when they are deformed. And of course we are working with a mesh that has a relative low number lines to work with, with a lot of the detail coming from texture maps. So texture stretching is a bit of a concern.
We also want to avoid falling into some of the standards pitfalls that games tend to do. At the same time we should aim to raise the games rigging quality bar a bit. So with this in mind and being limited by the design and by what technologies we have for deforming, we have to try to get as far as we can. This with normal bones, skinning, a good dose of attention, experience, planning + a lot of compromise!
How we went about it
First things first - Getting out of the T-pose
Often Biped Characters are rigged and skinned in the so called "T-Pose". This does not seem to be the ideal pose for doing deformations on the character. The main reason for this is: The longer you deform something from it's original modeled position, the more it's gonna collapse and suffer!
Deforming from the T-pose
Getting into the relaxed pose
So, we chose a different pose to be our default. The focus is that the character should be standing in a more relaxed stance and it's limbs should be closer to "the middle of their range of motion".
Deforming from the relaxed pose
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