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Chapter 17. Rigging Characters for Anima... > Creating Advanced Bipedal Character ...

Creating Advanced Bipedal Character Controls

This section covers several more advanced approaches, some that lend themselves very nicely to the stretching characters into any pose needed by the animators. We know that our human character will need to stand on two feet, sit down and drive a car, get sprayed by a fire hydrant, get knocked down, and interact with several objects and props in his environment. The fact that the character might need to be animated with a touch of cartooned style, per his character design, is also a consideration for the design of the controls. A special type of rig involving a stretchy spline IK setup that reacts with the intuitive controls of an FK hierarchy will be used for the back (spine) of The Jerk. It will give him the ability to stretch his back evenly, similar to the real stretching ability of a spine. It will also allow normal, traditional FK-style rotations of the controls for certain poses that should not be controlled by an IK rotational element. The ability to stretch more than would be anatomically correct will exist, and it will be the animator's job to decide how much the back will stretch, bend, and so on.

The legs of the character will be rigged using IK because The Jerk will need to stick mostly to the ground for walking. The arms will also be rigged using IK, but a simple IK parenting technique will be used to allow for FK-style rotation of the shoulders, as well as IK-style translation placement for The Jerk's clavicle and hand. This will give the character animator full control to pose the characters. Both the arms and the legs of The Jerk will have automatic stretching built into their IK rigs as well. This adds another level of control for the animators, especially when sticking the feet or hands onto objects, because the legs and arms will actually stretch to any length to meet the placement of the hands or feet.


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